By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
It is the Nike WE RUN series in Africa: From Johannesburg to Algiers.
Nike, the global footware company says Africa is a fast developing continent and an exciting place to be.
Nike also wants to be part of a new African generation growing steadily with opportunities in education, society and sports – opportunities that were not available to previous generations.
NIKE, Inc., based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned NIKE subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Cole Haan, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football (soccer) brand; and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories.
Also reported is that in the past few weeks, Nike was active in both the south and the north parts of the continent, with the South African and Algerian edition in the worldwide WE RUN series, hitting 32 cities, 17 countries, and connecting 400,000 runners.
Runners of Nike’s WE RUN Jozi 10K connect streets between Sandton and Alexandra.
Further, a capacity field lined up for the Johannesburg leg of Nike’s 2012 WE RUN series on Sunday, October 7th. “Everyday athletes, donning the official black / volt trim race-day tee, crammed Katherine Street in Sandton waiting for the Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Parks Tau to push the start button, so they could claim their own piece of greatness.
“20,000 South African runners have claimed their piece of Nike’s WE RUN Jozi, and imprinted their footprints on the global Nike WE RUN race series.”
“The energy was electric as the crowd stared down Katherine Street in the affluent suburb of Sandton on the iconic route that would take them straight into the heart of Alexandra, one of South Africa’s poorest townships.”
“Sharing the streets that connected these two communities were some of South Africa’s favourite celebrities and Nike athletes who kept the runners entertained along the route. In what was a first in digitally ground breaking innovation, Nike only officially revealed the entire race route once all 20,000 registered runners had signed up, as each runner helped reveal a segment of this route through their registration.”
Amongst the capacity crowd of runners, the professionals steamed ahead to claim the glory by crossing the finish line first. Xolisa Tyali crossed the finish line first in the men’s category with a time of 29:57″7, while Rutendo Nyahora from Zimbabwe took the women’s category in 35:24.00.
“All 20,000 runners who crossed the finish line received a medal and recognition for being the first runners to finish on a highway in South Africa. The M1 Highway was the perfect setting for this finish
as runners streamed in under two hours.
And the field comprised of almost 80 percent of novice runners who remarked that this race is so unique and offered an experience which has socially connected, motivated and inspired a new era of running.
Anwar Jappie echods these sentiments: “Sports is the only platform which does not distinguish between culture and borders, and running being the most basic form of athletic expression has the power to bring communities together. The Nike WE RUN series aims to inspire and motivate the everyday athlete, making it possible to run in your own backyard.”
Nike celebrated the runners’ achievements by hosting a cool-down session at Innesfree Park, while entertained by a star-studded line up of entertainment including DJ Mo Flava, hip-hop artist J.R; Siyabonga ‘Scoop’ Ngwekazi; comedian Mpho Popps; as well as one of the most exciting House groups to come out of South Africa – Mi CASA.
In addition to these activities, there is also:
I RUN ALGIERS
The race “I Run Algiers” organized by PLAYMODE, official and exclusive Distributor of the Nike brand in Algeria and in partnership with the Algerian League of Athletics took place last Friday 19th of October in the city center.
“The all-time first ever running event of Algeria has provided a unique opportunity for about 2000 runners registered to be part of this major sporting experience.
“Three great athletes that have marked the history of athletism in Algeria were present this Friday to support the runners: Nourredine Morceli, Nouria Benida Merah and last but not least Toufik Makhloufi.
“Participants took the start under the command of Toufik Makhloufi, the 2012 1500m Olympic champion overwhelmed with pride. Nouria Benida Merah was actively supporting and encouraging a female record presence for such an event, with over 20% participation to the run.
Nike offered to all participants of the race t-shirts and bibs chips which were used to provide a precise chronometry each rider- a method used for the first time in the country.
After a very positive experience, enthusiastic participants and very satisfied authorities regarding the quality of the organization, “I Run Algiers” has secured its chance to return next year.