Like any self-respecting Capetonian, I am terrified of Joburg. Absolutely petrified. We can’t stay there without being plagued by paranoia of getting mugged or mutilated, and that’s just in the OR Tambo transit lounge. But every time I go to Joburg and come back without being disemboweled, I’m almost slightly disappointed that I’m not good enough as a target. It’s kind of like that night when I ended up in a gay club and nobody hit on me.
Last night I found myself in Jozi amongst 10 000 runners for the Nike Run Jozi 10k night race. This race is gangsta – we’re not trotting around the golf clubs of Houghton, we be rolling through the hoods of Newtown and Hilbrow, yo. How’s that for motivation for speed, eh? From what the altitude took away from my performance, I made up for out of pure fear for downtown skullduggery. Actually there wasn’t any of that sort of thing; I just wanted to use the word “skullduggery”.
The Run Jozi race is a spectacular race indeed. Ten thousand runners in neon green took to the streets on Human Rights Day, after the a goosebump-inducing national anthem sung by a little girl in the spotlight – just like that advert, except this one remembered the words.
There are two very significant factors behind Run Jozi that brings a much-needed revamp to the image of running. Firstly, it’s getting a lot of young people into running; most of the people were twenty-something runners more determined on spreading gees than breaking landspeed records. Secondly, it’s also getting people running in places that people don’t usually run in. If fact, if John Mitchell hadn’t taught the Lions how to catch rugby balls last year, it would have been the highest number of non-Hilbrow residents within a 30-kilometre-radius to the Coca Cola Park Stadium since, like, forever.
The race ended off in style with a very impressive razzmatazz of fireworks and DJs, and not only did I hit my race goal but I left Joburg unscathed. And the only crime I have to report on was the soaps and pen that I stole from the Sandton City Garden Court hotel.