Energiser Light Race Soweto

Posted onMay 11, 2014

smoke, lots of support, a little scary and pretty busy

A night race that took us 10km all over Soweto at night. Not something I would normally picture doing, I like these races that take you out of your comfort zone. (10 May 2014)

I really enjoyed this run

Start of Soweto Night Race

This race tried to accommodate everyone; there was a 20km bike ride, 10km run and 5km walk to choose from. The tagline for the race was ‘Tour de Township’ which was spot on. Not only for the cycling connotations but because it was a race about showing us suburbanites how the other half live.

It was definitely an eyeopener for me:

  • the air was thick with smoke (a cold night so everyone had wood fires going)
  • we ran through open dark fields with long grass, scary and cannot believe people do this everyday
  • support was fantastic, high fives and cheers all over
  • some of the looks from normal people were funny, going about their business while a bunch of runners in headlamps went past
  • shacks, music, shebeens and spaza shops

Soweto night race

I think they planned a nice route that included most of the interesting parts of Soweto. Normal Soweto with everyday people all the way into Vilakazi street where Nelson Mandela’s house is. The contrast between Vilakazi street and the rest of Soweto was huge, as soon as you turn onto Vilakazi you see fancy cars and upmarket restaurants. I need to go back for a meal and a more in depth look at where Nelson lived.

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The route had some issues with a couple of bottlenecks that slowed us down and queue a bit. Passing through Orlando train station there was a choir all dressed in white. They provided good support for us coming though. Then towards the end under a bridge there were two guys with guitars helping us get over the last hump.

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There were a few problems, but overall great

They reduced the race distance to 8km before the race and then the race ended up being 10km as planned? It was hard to get a beer because the single drinks stand didn’t have enough change and was really slow. We runners need our beer! Getting out of the parking lot took forever, perhaps having 3 races on one night was not the best idea. This was a good first go at having an urban night race in Soweto. Make sure you try it next time!

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Check out the route. GPX File

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Geoffrey Hunt is a freelance developer, happiest working in javascript.

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