Home competition discipline Kimberley Harriers gear up for the 54th annual Diamond Marathon

Kimberley Harriers gear up for the 54th annual Diamond Marathon

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Scheduled to commence and conclude at the St. Patrick’s CBC Sports Field, the Diamond Marathon offers a challenging yet rewarding experience for participants, doubling up as a qualifier for the esteemed Two Oceans and Comrades Marathons.

Kimberley is set to lace up its running shoes once again as the Kimberley Harriers Running Club prepares to host the much-anticipated annual Diamond Marathon on Saturday March 2, 2024. Picture: Kimberley Harriers Facebook

KIMBERLEY is set to lace up its running shoes once again as the Kimberley Harriers Running Club prepares to host the much-anticipated annual Diamond Marathon on Saturday March 2, 2024.

The event, now in its 54th year, once again promises a thrilling experience of athleticism and camaraderie as runners from across the region gather to participate in this prestigious event.

Scheduled to commence and conclude at the St. Patrick’s CBC Sports Field, the Diamond Marathon offers a challenging yet rewarding experience for participants, doubling up as a qualifier for the esteemed Two Oceans and Comrades Marathons.

The Kimberley Harriers Club, the oldest running club in the Northern Cape, has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1969 by Sarge Ball, George MacCallum, and Jimmy Glover.

Originally established to gain club affiliation for participation in the Comrades Marathon, the club has since flourished, becoming synonymous with endurance and sportsmanship in the region.

In the first ever Diamond Marathon, the event saw a total of 12 entries, with eight runners hailing from Bloemfontein and four from Kimberley, showcasing the event’s regional allure and appeal.

Sarge Ball, a stalwart of the running community, clinched victory in the inaugural Diamond Marathon in 1970 with a remarkable time of 02:45:00. His dedication to the sport has left an indelible mark on the club’s legacy. While George and Jimmy have since passed on, their contributions to the club remain etched in its annals.

Participating runners can choose from three distances to test themselves.

42.2 kilometres: The marathon kicks off at 6am with a six-hour cut-off time. Entry requires a fee of R280, and participants must be at least 20 years old. With the prestige of being an AGW (Athletics Griqualand West) championship event, winners stand to claim prizes of R2,500 for first place, R1,500 for second, and R1,000 for third spot.

21.1 kilometres: Starting at the same time as the 42.2km marathon, this half-marathon has a four-hour cut-off. Entry costs R220 and is open to individuals aged 16 and above. The top finishers in this category will be awarded R1,000, R500, and R300 for first-, second-, and third place, respectively.

10 Kilometres: Commencing at 6.15am, the 10-kilometre run offers a two-hour cut-off and requires an entry fee of R170. Open to participants aged 15 and above, winners can claim prizes of R500, R300, and R250 for first, second, and third place, respectively.

Late entries and race number collections will still be accommodated on Friday March 1 at St. Patrick’s CBC Sports Field from 4.30pm to 7pm, with a nominal fee of R20 for late entries.

• Please note that race day entries will not be accepted.

Notably, the event will feature distinguished athletes such as Gert Thys, the South African Marathon record holder, who will partake in the 21.1-kilometre half-marathon. Among the local stars is Berdine Smit, a six-time champion of the Diamond Marathon.

The marathon and the club stand out as beacons of determination. One example of this grit happened not too long ago. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kimberley Harriers persevered, successfully hosting the Diamond Marathon in October 2021 with approval from Athletics South Africa.

Now, as Kimberley gears up for another thrilling edition of the Diamond Marathon, the spirit of sportsmanship and resilience embodied by the Kimberley Harriers continues to inspire runners of all ages and backgrounds, fostering a legacy of excellence that endures through the ages.

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