Every now and then, our streets are closed and there’s a buzz of activity. You never quite know what it is, other than that vague reminder of “road closed on such-and-such date” signs that were posted weeks before. Suddenly a stream of bicycles come zooming past, or a helicopter buzzes above as it tracks a running pack. Or your friends get back from “Midmar”, but they don’t so much as talk about their great weekend at the dam, but more about some time they managed to beat. And then once in a while, a local radio station goes on about this “big walk” that we don’t really acknowledge as a big deal, but we’re keen to take part nonetheless.
Durban has a rich sporting history. The famous Comrades Marathon established in 1921 is heralded as the oldest Ultramarathon in the World! At 89KM’s long between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, almost 20,000 participants test their stamina in the grueling race. Above the numbers, many of the participants are from around the world. It’s encouraging seeing broadcasted video beamed across the world with the proud streets of Durban as the backdrop.
Or take the East Coast Radio Big Walk as an example of the people of Durban coming together for a good time. It’s a relaxed walk with various distances up to 20KM, but it’s all at your own pace and a day of Durban’s diversity at its best. Where else can you find 30,000 people from one City, walking together in a non-competitive way, enjoying the sun, a cool ocean breeze and some lively entertainment to end off an afternoon?
Perhaps swimming is something you prefer. That’s okay, the Midmar Mile is just 100KM outside of Durban and attracts some of the world’s top open water swimmers right down to those who enjoy the sport. At over 13,000 participants, it has earned the title of being the world’s largest open water swimming event.
Let’s not forget the Standard Bank Ironman competition, the Tour Durban Cycle Event, the world-class swimming facility at Lahee Park sponsored by SA Olympic swimmer Charlene, Princess of Monaco. There’s the weekly Parkrun on the beachfront promenade that also attracts some of the highest attendances in the world. Moses Mabhida stadium has been a favourite for the Nedbank Cup final, Monster Jam, a number of big music artists and international sporting events. There are the historic milestone events that Durban has hosted too; such as the A1 Grand Prix street circuit, the 2010 Soccer World Cup and the African Cup of Nations.
We’re sure you could think of a whole lot more that stands out, perhaps some that you participate in that never made the list. But it’s encouraging to know there’s so much on offer right at our doorstep! We can all celebrate our sporting city and contribute more by supporting these events and by spreading a more positive story.