Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Nike Run Jozi 2012

The Nike Run Jozi 10km night race was held in the Johannesburg CBD on the 21st of March 2012. Ten thousand people dressed in the neon yellow shirts supplied by Nike took part in what was billed as an attempt to reclaim the streets of Johannesburg. These streets have been no go areas for a long time now due to crime.
The race started in style at the iconic Nelson Mandela bridge illuminated by green lights and blazing fireworks. As the runners crossed over into Newtown they winded past Luthuli House and Beyers Naude Square, the headquarters of the ANC and the park where most political and social protests take place. All the way down Market Street and into Bertrams, past the imposing Ellis Park, the location of the Springbok's historic Rugby World Cup win of 1995.

The runners continued through Doornfontein and on into the notorius Hillbrow. The race ran through some of the dodgiest areas in the CBD, that are well known for crime, these places are no go areas for pretty much anyone that has a choice. The people of these areas lined the streets supporting the runners, many of which would have never been in Hillbrow before in their lives.

The support in these areas bordered on riotous, but not once did I feel unsafe, as I noticed the police always stayed close by, watching. Next up Constitutional Hill and a well needed breezy down-hill past the Metro Center followed by a right into Bree street and a long run to the finish at Mary Fitzgerald Square to collect our medals. 

Being a journalist and spending much of my time in these areas, I'm sure nothing would have been changed by this run, but at the very least, some of the privileged few got a small glimpse, (albeit a watered down version) of the "other side". And as far as I know it went of without a hitch and was a great success. I also know that next year I will be there running it again.