Stretching the Gluteal Muscles

By Dr. Grant Matkovich

Dear Runners,

This time we are going to look at how to stretch the Gluteal muscles.

The Gluteal muscles (Glutes) are your ‘butt’ muscles and are made up of three muscles. The 1. Gluteus Maximus, 2. Gluteus Medius and 3. Gluteus Minimus.

These butt muscles move the hip so are used a lot with running (like a lot!), so are often tight from being over-used. This is why the Gluteus are a common cause for butt, back of the leg and groin pain and tightness in runners.

So stretching them is important!

1. Gluteus Maximus

This is the main and biggest butt muscle.

It moves the hip backwards, so it works in every stride when you run.

Tips to do it correctly:

  • Pull the knee up to the chest towards the shoulder on the same side.
  • You should feel the stretch in your butt, there should be no pinching in your groin.
  • If you cant feel the stretch in your butt, then try pulling your knee over your body towards your shoulder on the opposite side. This should cause a deeper stretch in the Gluteus maximus.

Add this stretch to your routine after long runs, if you have low back pain when running or tight Gluteus muscles.

2. Gluteus Medius and Minimus

These muscles both help stabilize the pelvis (they help keep you up-right when you are standing) and they move the hip outwards. So can be stretched together.

These muscles are used when running. They are not used as much as Gluteus Maximus, but are still important and can cause pain.

Tips to doing this stretch correctly:

  • This is an awkward stretch to find the correct position. But with tight muscles you will feel the stretch in the position. If there is no stretch, the muscles may not be tight.
  • This is a good stretch to add if you have ITB issues.

For both these stretches:

  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times. It is best to do both sides, even if the other side isn’t tight.
  • The ideal stretch is to find the position that is comfortable but not yet uncomfortable.

Next time we will look at the Piriformis muscle, which is under the Gluteal muscles and is also a common cause of pain in runners.

Road Captain’s Review

by Sandy Mullins

It is hard to believe another crazy year has gone by, one I think most of us can’t wait to say goodbye to. Yet despite all the bumps, we have learnt a lot and grown in many respects.

Running, and leading the runs has been a challenge as we have had to take safety and load shedding into account as well as lockdown restrictions. Choosing routes that had enough light, not too many intersections, holes and cracks, less traffic… has had us either being innovative and climbing a few Kilimanjaro’s, or boring and pounding the same streets of Glenwood until every pothole could be named! Winter caused us more consternation with little light, which resulted in a few tumbles, kissing the tarmac, a cracked bone or two and entitled runners to be christened ‘a real runner’ as you’re not a runner until you have scars to prove it!

The unrest in July also intensified the already exasperated COVID conditions, yet we still found time to meet and run with a sense of surreal safety as the community stood together and guarded the roads and the neighbourhood. The way people pulled together to help will be a highlight in a very bleak time of our history.

Meeting at the club to run has been the glue that has kept us together. A bond of unity and a common thread to not only stay fit, but sane has made our gatherings and pounding the roads an essential part of our daily lives. The chats and banter in that hour or so has been beyond beneficial. The friendships that are formed are priceless.

On a more serious note, with the passing of Steve Webber, it has highlighted the need for us to be real and understanding, to listen and to be there for each other. There are so many of us fighting inner battles, and the past two years has been exceptionally hard on all of us. Life is a daily challenge. Running is a good analogy where you get days where running is a breeze. But there are days of hard slog and it’s a case of putting one foot in front of the other. Moving forward! There have been times when going running is the last thing you feel like, yet after a run the sense of peace and calm filters through. Perspective!

We have changed the Gillies Saturday run to allow for variety and a change of scenery. This has been very successful, and the coffee spots afterwards being the reward, as the weekly photos testify! The last month or two have even seen a few races taking place, which has been amazing.

Life has been tricky, but together we can start the New Year with purpose and comradery and set a few new goals. So, wishing you all a happy, safe, peaceful Christmas, and may the spirit of the festive Season continue into 2022.

Real athletes don’t diet

By Ann Ashworth

Diet is not equivalent to nutrition
Diet, as in what an athlete eats day to day, has to be up there with one of the most frequently asked questions of any elite athlete. Followers and fans want to know if what an elite athlete eats, is the secret to their success. And it is, at the very least, a contributory factor.

Having said that, it is important to distinguish between a “diet” as the running public understand it: a list of do’s and don’ts as to what should be on your plate (or in your back pocket while training); versus the kind of readily available foods which offer your body the nutrients they require to perform at its best (or, to function optimally). Because there is difference.

You may choose to follow the banting diet plan, a low-carb, high fat diet that excludes all grains, added sugars, vegetable and seed oils, and any foods containing gluten, or similarly the Atkins diet. Another diet popular amongst active individuals is the paleo diet comprising about 20% carbohydrate (more than Banting), 40% fats and 40% protein and which similarly excludes sugars, grains, processed foods and legumes. Also popular is the practice of intermittent fasting where food intake is limited to a set window period during the day. In each instance, the goal of the diet is to “lose weight” (or, most frequently belly fat), gain muscle mass and/or improve your overall health.

Counterintuitively, each diet claims to be the only way to reach these goals successfully.
What you will find, however, is that the vast majority of successful athletes, and particularly elite athletes, follow what your Mum would have described as a “balanced diet”; a moderate mix of everything fresh, coloured and readily available. Whole foods, namely naturally grown and free from hydrogenated fats, artificial colourings/flavours and preservatives, are a stable in any athlete’s diet. Combine these with complex carbohydrates such as brown and wild rice, quinoa, potatoes, maize and other staples, as well as hormone-free proteins and you will have everything you need to sustain the activities in which you hope to achieve.


But, if you diet… and by that I mean follow a restricted regime of do’s and don’ts, count your calories and tailor your nutrition intake to the ideals of say, a supermodel… your performance will suffer. If not immediately then certainly within the medium to long term. There’s a reason why models while lean and lithe, aren’t likely to set any land-speed records over your favourite race distances; because they don’t fuel for performance, they fuel for appearance. And there’s a difference. Of course there are outliers, as there are with everything; that person who tells you the reason why they are suddenly looking so good or running so well is because of some new-fangled diet regime. Maybe whatever they are doing is
working for them, right now. Get back to me in 12 to 18 months and let me know if they were able to sustain those performance gains because, chances are, they will not. Or if they do, their diet probably won’t be as strict as it was when they first started and it will have moved closer to something more balanced… which is exactly what a diet should be.

Let’s also recognize that before “going on” or starting a particular regime, a person’s diet may not have been particularly good and may have contained a high proportion of fatty, sugary or highly processed foods. Their decision to start a new eating regime must have been motivated by something – usually a desire to eat better, to feel better and to lose excess weight. In that case, moving toward any kind of eating plan which incorporates fresh foods, of whatever nature and in whatever proportion, is going to be better for them than the diet they previously followed.

I have previously followed a high-protein, low-carbohydrate and almost fat-free diet in the pursuit of sporting excellence. And for a while it seemed that I had found the key. I was strong and lean and running faster times than I could have previously imagined. But as time progressed, my body started to fail me. By excluding certain foods from my diet and limiting my intake of others, I unknowingly started to deprive my body of essential nutrients which it required to keep me healthy. In the absence of essential fatty acids I stopped being able to generate certain hormones and chemicals required for everyday life. Without adequate carbohydrate my body didn’t have sufficient fuel for me to complete my training sessions or to facilitate recovery afterwards. Slowly but surely my body entered a state of chronic calorie deficit, my performance suffered and I started to break down; all the while filling my plate with loads of low-calorie, high protein food. Eventually I developed a condition known as RED-S – Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport.

It took me almost 2 years to recover from RED-S. It involved me taking a serious look at my diet and working together with one of South Africa’s most knowledgeable sports-focused dietitians. Within a few weeks of committing to a balanced diet, I finally felt like my old self. And better yet, I look far better than my old self – my hair has grown instead of falling out; my muscles are strong and lean. I can concentrate on what I am supposed to be doing instead of being easily distracted and half asleep. My sense of humour has returned and I don’t feel weirdly emotional for no reason. I’m back to being Ann… and my performance hasn’t suffered.


And so, in response to the question: do I follow a specific diet? I offer the following response: “My Mother always said that a little bit of what you fancy does you the world of good”.

I eat whatever is fresh and readily available, limiting my intake of highly processed, sugary and fatty foods, with the following core principles in mind:

  1. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially if you train beforehand. Make sure you include a healthy dose of lean protein (at least 25g) and complex carbohydrate to keep you fueled for the day ahead. Always choose a 3-egg omelet and sourdough bread over cereal or toast with jam.
  2. It is imperative that you fuel for recovery. This means taking in at least 25g of lean protein post-workout. If you train before breakfast – incorporate your protein into breakfast. If you train later in the day, make sure you are slugging down a recovery protein shake with 30 minutes of your training session. No excuses.
  3. Women must eat within 30 minutes of waking up. This reduces your “fat-storing” hormones and ensures you start the day on the right foot. Think about a rusk, a small banana or a smoothie which you can get down pre-morning run.
  4. Life should be colourful – include a wide variety of fruit and vegetables into your diet.
  5. Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates – they fuel your performance. But, if you do want to manage your weight (particularly as you get older), eat vegetable-based carbs at night (butternut, potato, corn) as opposed to grains or pasta.

Juddy Walker

Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t join Stella to boost coffee sales but rather to get fit. Having said
that, coffee sales are soaring thanks to the club.

I really appreciate the support in these crazy times, even the daily verbal abuse from Dave is worth
the increase in turnover.

It’s coming up to a year now since I joined (reminds me my subs are due) and I find myself in the
strange situation that I still can’t keep up with the walkers and running to catch up, but not with
enough stamina to stay with the runners. I believe the term is “jeffing”. So, I’ve decided to do my
running in secret, early mornings alone when no one can see me coughing out sections of my lung,
or hear my new Garmin 45 (in Lava Red) alerting me that my heart rate shouldn’t be hovering
around 210!

My evil plan is to magically appear at the next Thursday Time Trial with the body of a 14-year-old
Greek boy and out run Craig George by a full 2 minutes. Wish me luck!

Thanks again for all the support & new friendships.

Juddy Poo

Chairman’s Chirp – November 2021

Hello fellow Stars

And so we start the downhill slide to the end of the year. I’m sure that all of you are exhausted and
are looking forward to a well-earned break. After almost 2 years of living under these dreaded
COVID protocols most people yearn for a return to normality. Whether that will be the normality we
knew prior to COVID, or whether it is going to be a more cautious new normality, only time will tell.
What we athletes want though is the return of the regular races on the road-racing calendar. The
provisional race calendar for the 2022 year has been published and we are lucky enough to have
retained our traditional calendar date for early March 2022. With the Comrades Marathon being run
on 28 August some of the marathon dates have been moved around to allow runners to have
multiple opportunities to qualify for the event. The race calendar as you know it will therefore be a
bit odd for 2022. If there are well organised races, I’m sure that there will be no complaints.

As a Club we have got through the year reasonably well. Whilst there was a disappointing uptake in
membership, the profit earned on the 2020 Marshalls World of Sport Stella Royal has carried us
through to where we are now. I must add that our esteemed race Director, Kevin Hendrickse, then
organised a very profitable and enjoyable 2021 Virtual race. We are hoping that our 2022 race will
be run with no COVID restrictions and that we can put on an event in the Stella tradition.

With the ending of the year comes all the normal celebrations. This year the committee has decided
to again mix things up a bit and to organise a year-end function taking COVID protocols into account.
It will be an outdoor event that will challenge your sporting flexibility. The cameras will be there to
record both the successes and epic fails. The most important point though is that there is good
camaraderie amongst the members and that a good time is had by all. Details of this event will go
out shortly.

A successful year would not be complete without saying thank you to a few groups of people. Firstly,
thank you to the Committee who have worked tirelessly to keep the Club operational during such
difficult times. Its not easy juggling work, home life and the demands of an athletics club. I would
also like to thank the road captains who have gone above and beyond to ensure that our groups had
interesting runs that met the requirements of the diverse needs of our members. The success of
these runs was evident by all the happy faces in the pictures shared on Instagram. Members are
urged to share any ideas regarding run routes with the road captains. This will ensure that we have
even more variety on the roster. Lastly a big thank you to all the members who have stuck by the
club during such difficult times.

I trust that you will enjoy a welcome break over the Christmas period and if I do not see you until
the new year I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2022.

Happy running and please all stay safe.

Dave Beattie
Chairman

Tips from Dr. Mat – August 2021

Dr. Grant Matkovich

Dear Runners,

Stretching for runners is always a good thing. However, to stretch correctly is not always easy.

Here are some tips on how to correctly stretch the quads (front of the thigh) and hamstring (back of the thigh) muscles.

These muscles are used a lot with runners and always need same attention!

Quadriceps

Important to stretch this muscle if you have runners knee (pain in the front of the knee behind the kneecap, with a feeling that the back of your knee cap is grinding against the knee joint).

Tips to do it correctly:

  • Remember to balance / stabilize yourself with your other hand by holding onto a chair or a wall.
  • Make sure your knee is next to your other knee when you are stretching.
  • Make sure your upper body / torso is up right, ideally with your lower back slightly arched.

You should feel the stretch in the front of your thigh with the most of the stretch in the thigh slightly above the knee.

Add this stretch into your routine after you have done hill sessions or an especially hilly route as your quads work hard when running up hill.

If you are unable to balance or stand on your one leg you can change position to lying down on your side. Shown below.

Hamstrings

Always tight with runners, just try touch your toes with your legs straight!

This is a good stretch for runners with hamstrings that cramp often or with burning pain around your “bum bones”, the bones you sit on.

Tips to doing this stretch correctly:

  • Keep your pelvis straight with the floor, don’t ‘hike your pelvis.
  • Take both hands (not just one) down the leg on the side being stretched this will help stretch the whole hamstring muscle.
  • Bend your back forward over the leg being stretched this will help isolate the hamstring muscle more.

Like the quad muscles hold this stretch for 30s and repeat 3 times. Its best to do both sides even if the other side is not injured / tight/ giving issues.

This stretch can be painful. The ideal stretch is to find the position that is comfortable but not yet uncomfortable.

This stretch needs to be done regularly to increase hamstring flexibility which will help reduce low back and glute (butt) muscle pain when running.

Next time will be tips on how to stretch glute muscles.

Spotlight on: The Riddles

Stuart and Sheldene Riddle

When did you meet?

1987 Military Tattoo, Stuart was in the Military Tattoo Guard of Honor and Sheldene was doing the Aerobics display at the Tattoo 

How long have you been a member of Stella Athletic Club?

Since December 2019

What was your reason for joining?

Stuart : Ask my wife!

Sheldene: Our friends were members

What is your favorite race distance to run / walk?

Sheldene: 10 km

Stuart: 21 km

What has been your most embarrassing/Funniest running moment to date?

Sheldene: Have you ever done a training walk with Dave Beattie aka Grumpy, need I say more 😊  

Stuart: Too many to mention

What is your favorite meal to enjoy the evening before an important race?

Sheldene – Wine the night before a race

Stuart – Future Life

Name your favorite running shoe brand and why?

Sheldene : Not fussy but I prefer Brooks

Stuart: New Balance wide

Describe your personality in 3 words.  

Sheldene: Committed – determined – and Grumpy over any distance over 7km

Stuart:  Peer Pressure is real

What is your running goal or aspiration?

Sheldene: To complete an 21.1 km and complete the Sani stagger 

Stuart: To Improve my time at the Sani stagger Trail

What to date is your biggest running / walking achievement? (your proudest moment)

Sheldene: Double Gold award at the Adidas

Stuart: sub 2 hours on the Deloitte 21.1 km

Who to date has been your biggest running / walking inspiration?

Sheldene: My friend Sharon Troll is my inspiration

Stuart: Mhlengi Gwala ( The promising SA Tri athlete who was attacked in 2019 with an chainsaw while training near University of Kwa-Zulu natal near Glenwood area and who is back on his bike competing again and headed to Italy for the Para-cycling competition

Which couple do you nominate next for questioning?

Shaun and Kathryn

A new perspective

Kirsty Grobler

After being in Lockdown, which seems to be forever, some dreams and goal have had to be put on hold. 2020 was supposed to have been the start of reaching my dreams, my plan was to run The Two Oceans Marathon that year and then go on to run the Comrades Marathon in 2021. However, the universe had other ideas.

After being injured I was unable to qualify for the Two Oceans Marathon up until the very last qualifying race, which was the Deloittes Marathon (no pressure). I really did not have a good day out there, I fought hard because I was adamant that I was going to qualify. With only a few minutes to spare, I crossed the finish line and qualified! I was broken, but I had done it and so I was one step closer to making my dream come true. Whilst sitting at the Stella tent after the race, with a happy heart knowing I had qualified, I was told that the Two Oceans Marathon had been cancelled due to Covid-19. I honestly thought that they were joking, I had fought so hard to finish the race and to qualify only for it to be cancelled. I felt so defeated. Lots of negative thoughts went through my mind but once I had time to process everything, I realized that I had gained so much from running the Deloittes Marathon. I learnt so much about myself on that day and I am forever grateful.

Shortly after, South Africa was placed in total Lockdown. Running and exercising (outside of your home) was prohibited. Some decided to not let this dampen their spirits and created a running circuit in their gardens. Running in circles, some creating distinct pathways in the process and then changing direction for a bit of variety (I think some gardens are yet to recover). Some may call them crazy… well, we are runners after all.

Although this was a set back, it gave my body time to heal and recover from all the niggles. Eventually we were allowed to run again, but with restrictions, having to run with a mask or buff, making sure you were socially distanced and only being allowed to run between 6am – 9am. I was just happy to be out on the road again, even if it was just within a 5km radius from home.

As time went on, restrictions were eased and we were allowed club runs again. It was so awesome to see all the Stella Stars again. It really made many hearts happy.

Fast forward a few months and going up and down Lockdown levels like a yo-yo, all races, including Comrades Marathon 2020 were cancelled. There was so much uncertainty as to when or if we would be able to run our next race. With motivation and morals running low, we all needed a ‘pick me up’. Just when we thought it was all doom and gloom and that races would be a thing of the past and a distant memory, virtual races were born. Even though it was not the same as a real race, it gave us purpose and boosted our moral. We now had something to train for. YAY!!

We all had our hopes up that by some miracle Comrades 2021 was going to go ahead. Unfortunately, this was not to be and it was cancelled again. In spite of this, the organizers decided to create a virtual race (as they had done the previous year) with various distances. So, a few of us novices decided to get a taste of what we would be getting ourselves into when we got to tackle the Comrades Marathon. We decided to enter the 45km race and oh boy, did we get a taste!!

The route was planned. We would start and finish at Stokers Arms in Kloof and run part of the Comrades route, to the top of Inchanga and back, giving us the experience of a few of the iconic hills. It was the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge after all…

As the days grew closer to race day, I still did not feel as though I was about to run the furthest I have ever gone, never mind about to conquer those famous hills. I think one thing that Covid-19 has taught me, is to be flexible and be able to take things in my stride. So, my goal was to go out there, enjoy the day out on the road, do my best and take things as they come. And I did just that!

Arriving at Stokers Arms and seeing our fellow Stella Stars, which included many experienced runners and a few novices, was thrilling. It defiantly got the butterflies going. A very passionate Stella Star got everyone’s blood pumping by playing Chariots of Fire and the National Anthem. I can’t wait to be able to experience ‘the real thing’ with them at the start line one day.

5:30am came and we were off. Being surrounded by a few of my favourite Stella Stars was incredible. It was a brilliant day on the road for me, however, it wouldn’t have been possible without the support from our fellow Stella members, manning water tables, supporting us on the side of the road and of course my number one fan 😊. Without them, this day would not have been a success. To see those happy faces and hear those words of encouragement were always well received. So, I thank you on behalf of all of us who ran.

I have always had a huge amount of respect for those who not only complete Comrades, but also those who are there at the start line waiting for the run to go off. However, I now have newfound respect for you all. I now also understand why everyone knows those hills by name, they are a real test mentally and physically. Although I had to dig deep and give myself a few pep talks (we all need a good talking to from time to time) I thoroughly enjoyed my day out there. What an amazing experience.

Although I have not reached my goals and dreams just yet, I have made some new goals along the way. I will never give up and will continue to strive to achieve what I have set out to conquer. Cheers to everyone who is going out there and making their dreams come true, despite the curve balls that have been thrown your way.

2021 PDAC 25km

Siba Tyu

It is true that sometimes in life it’s the unexpected that will bring you true joy.  Here is my story of how I got to run the Pinetown & District Athletics Club’s 25km race. 

Friday 16 April 2021

It was a normal Friday afternoon at the office where I was wrapping up my work and looking forward to the usual 21km weekend long run the next day. Little did I know that I was in for a wonderful surprise.  Gerald, a fellow Stella Star had unfortunately encountered an injury and offered me his entry to run the PDAC 25 which was taking place on Sunday 18th April 2021.  I accepted with extreme excitement.  We contacted the race organisers and the Event Timing staff to arrange for the change of details.  I must say that I was very impressed with how efficient, polite and helpful they were.  By the time I left the office, I had received all the emails and an sms confirming my participation at the race.

Saturday 17 April 2021

Saturday morning I woke up and drove up to Lahee Park in Pinetown to collect the race pack and goodie bag.  Lahee Park is where we were to find the finish line of the race the next morning.  I had never taken part in this race before, and up until Saturday morning I had never set foot at Lahee Park before either.  This for me was unknown territory.   I had hoped to have time to drive along the route on Saturday, but I struggled to find someone to accompany me who knew the race route at such short notice. 

It was now Saturday afternoon, and to sum it all up to this point, 24 Hours ago I did not even know that I’d be running this race, and 24 Hours from now I’ll be running the race without knowing the route.  It was at this point that the good old race jitters set in.  It has been over a year since one had to carry out the “Night before race prep”.  One by one I ticked the items off the preparation list, starting with the kit, nutrition, transport, alarm clock and all the way down to the last but very important cup of coffee before the race.  I was also fortunate to have a last minute chat with a few Stella Stars about the race, race profile and their previous experience. This proved to be very valuable for me on race day.

Race Day: Sunday 18 April 2021

My alarm clock worked as advertised and I got up in time, had my cup of coffee and started my 30 minute drive to Watercrest Mall.  The song on repeat for this drive was Adele – When we were young.  Now I know what you’re thinking, but let me just say that the song gets me going, ok. J

The atmosphere at the start line and waiting area was nothing short of electrifying.  As we drove into the mall, one could see the road closure signs, cones and the red and white tape.  After such a long, difficult year of the pandemic it suddenly dawned on me that this race is actually happening. This was exciting.  Apart from a handful of runners who were doing their warm up drills outside, the rest used the isles inside the mall as a waiting area as the temperature outside was reported to be around 12 degrees Celsius. 

Everyone was so happy, friendly and greeting with big smiles. I was excited to be part of this race, not only because it was a first of many post the pandemic, but also because this was my first official race as a Stella Athletics Club member.  It felt good to see other Stella Stars in their kit and to wish each other well for the race.  

At exactly 05:30 the air horn went off and the race began.  The early start was definitely advantageous as this allowed us all more time to cover some ground before sunrise.  The advice I had received from my fellow club mates came in handy right at this point.  As advised, I ran the first 5 km gently as it was gradually climbing from the start line towards Hillcrest, and I held back on the pace once I was on the downhills.  I believe that this approach definitely spared me from possible injury and allowed me to enjoy the race in its entirety.

I had also been made aware of the two (2) hills that I was to face approximately 3 km from the finish line.  Armed with this knowledge, I reserved 10 to 20% of my effort throughout the race so that I would have enough energy to summit these hills.  I was happy to find that the strategy worked out as planned.  When I approached the hills, I gave it my all and manage to climb both hills without walking.  In fact, I ran the whole race without stopping once for a walk to recover.  After the climb, only 2km remained.  Running into the stadium and seeing the finish line always gives one that extra push and a burst of energy.  And just like that, the race was done.

One thing that was unusual and clearly notable was the absence of crowds of spectators and other athletes post-race. 

Runners were instructed to wear their masks after crossing the finish line and also were encouraged not to hang around at the stadium so as to observe the Covid-19 regulations. 

I am glad that many did observe these regulations, and do truly hope and believe that this race and the way it was organised will open doors for many more sporting events to come.  I finished the race at a time of 02:14:59.  I have set a sub 2 goal for this race for next year and would definitely recommend it to any runner to come and experience it for themselves. 

Happy Running.

Chairman’s Chirp – August 2021

David Beattie

Hello fellow Stars

We are well into the second half of the year and we are yet to see any return to normality in running terms. The COVID third wave seems to be lingering and with the slow pace of vaccinations I believe that we will only see races start again in the new year. As frustrating as that sounds we all have a responsibility to take all possible precautions to ensure that we do not infect and put the health of our fellow athletes at risk. At the club things continue to tick over thanks to our road captains. We are still having our monthly time trial and the regular Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday runs. Whilst the club is not operating at full capacity it continues to cost money to run the club and I urge members who have not paid their 2021 annual subscriptions to do so. The cost is only R 360 for the year. Your club needs your support to get through these tough times.

On 13 June we had a very successful Virtual Comrades race. It was fantastic to see so many athletes on the route celebrating the Comrades spirit.  A big thank you to those people who gave up their morning to man tables and second our athletes on the route. It takes a team to make such an event successful. Our Aches and Pains Braai was also a huge success. The only thing missing was some tall stories from the road. 

A big thank you to all the members who provide support to our monthly Time Trial. We have had an average of 65 runners per month since the return from lockdown and it is certainly not easy to manage the time and record keeping. In August we rolled out the new timekeeping system. We will be making a few tweaks to the system to make the process more efficient. Please be patient during this period as that will make it easier for the timekeepers. We are keeping records of these finish times so you will be able to chart your progress over the months. We are always on the look-out for potential lucky draw prizes for the Time Trail. If you can assist with such prizes, please can you contact me.

Just an update on the pavements and lighting in the Glenwood area. We have seen some improvements thanks to our local counsellor and some hardworking residents. With Spring around the corner, we are going to have longer days so the evening runs should become less of an obstacle course. That does not mean that all runners should ignore all the risks that athletes are exposed to. The human body is fragile and certainly cannot compete with a car. Always give way to the traffic and assume that drivers have not seen you. Please continue to wear bright colours and follow the instructions of the road captains.  

I hope to have some positive news as to the running calendar when next I write to you.

Happy running and please all stay safe.