Quintin van Jaarsveld
The South Coast Striders brought down the curtain on another stellar year at their Uvongo clubhouse on Friday.
Athletes and their families attended the annual year-end prize-giving function, where walkers and runners were acknowledged for their performances throughout the year.
The coveted Men’s and Ladies Athlete of the Year awards went to Mavela Nyembezi and Zandile Dunywa.
The talented duo led the way for the Striders in the year’s major marathons and were crowned 42km club champions.
Rising star Bongani Mbhele scooped the Most Improved Athlete of the Year award.
Brino Chidzungu was acknowledged for recording the fastest 4km, 5km, 8km and 10km time trial times, as were Zandile Dunywa and Deborah Berridge, who clocked the fastest times in the 4km and 8km women’s time trials.
“It has been a fantastic year for the club. Our members participated in races around the country and they left an impression,” Striders running captain Mark Smith told eHowzit.
Looking back on some of the highlights of the year, Smith said, “At the 42km club champs, we had 34 runners with 14 finishing in sub four and 14 in sub five hours. Mavela was first in an amazing time of 3:09.
“At the Comrades, we had 43 entrants of which only nine did not manage to cross the finish line, yours truly included. Mavela was first again in a blistering time of 7:25, and Brother [Moyo] just missed his 7:30 by a mere 43 seconds.
“We had many good training runs throughout the year, but who could forget the run with the one and only David Gatebe in March. He showed us just what an elite athlete is.
“We also had a Beloved Long Run in May at Oribi. Dean and his runners were so impressed that it has been made a permanent yearly run.”
The new committee were announced at the club’s annual general meeting, which preceded prize-giving.
Official posts are yet to be designated, however, the new committee members are Bongani Mbhele, Daan van Niekerk, Deborah Berridge and David Alderson-Smith.
They join remaining committee members Freek Stander, Kim Jones and Mark Smith.