The ‘Battle of the Commentators Challenge’ saw event commentators Sipho Mona, Sean Falconer, Thabo Molete and Altus Schreuder replace their mics with running shoes with little over a month to prepare for the inaugural Absa Run Your City Series (RYCS) Heritage Day Virtual Run that took place on Thursday 24 September 2020.
Proving to be extremely competitive by nature, training got off to a great start with commentators completing all five Friday 5K Solo Runs powered by PUMA, weekly 20km runs (double the required distance), weight training that included tractor tyre lifts and even a 129km road bike ride. Unfortunately Altus Schreuder was forced to withdraw from the challenge the week prior to the Virtual Run after being diagnosed with mumps, leaving Sipho and Thabo ready to battle as Sean Falconer was going for the title of ‘most talkative commentator’ on route.
Sipho Mona proved to be in a league of his own on the day with his finishing time of 46 minutes 25 seconds firmly securing the top spot on the ‘Battle of the Commentators Challenge’ podium. “I loved that anyone around the country could participate in the Absa RYCS Heritage Day Virtual Run,” says Mona. “Everyone was wearing their Absa event t-shirts on the day. This made the run even more unique. I’ve worked with Thabo, Altus and Sean on many of the RYCS events, but not once did I realise just how competitive they were. I run four times a week and cycle twice a week, so I must admit that I was fit coming into this challenge. I am disappointed that Altus had to withdraw as he was probably going to be my toughest competition. I hope that he gets better soon. It would be great if we could take on the challenge again at a later stage. I am very happy with my time as my goal was 47 minutes. I am truly honored to take the title.”
Thabo Molete took the 2nd spot on the podium in the ‘Battle of the Commentators Challenge’ finishing the 10km distance in 52 minutes 45 seconds. “After six months of no events, the Absa RYCS Heritage Day Virtual Run brought the nation together on National Heritage Day. It was an absolute privilege being part of the ‘Battle of the Commentators Challenge’. Sipho is a gentleman but wow the ‘lion hearted man’ took me by surprise. I had a gut feel that he was going for 47 minutes when I watched a video that he shared to social media the day before the race. I am not disappointed in my performance though. I trained hard, but I also had a lot of fun doing so with really good friends. I also managed to coax a competitive side out of our principal (referring to Pieter van Heerden, Principal at Dagbreek Primary School where Molete is a teacher), and I am really happy about that. Oom Altie we missed you and hope that you get well soon. I can’t wait to see you again so that we can create some more great memories.”
Sean Falconer was not surprised by the competitive nature of his fellow commentators. “Sipho was doing speed training in the midday heat of Equatorial Africa, and Thabo signed up Olympian Elroy Gelant to pace him,” laughs Falconer. “I think we all got into the spirit of the ‘Battle’. The humorous banter was great, but more importantly, I think all of us just enjoyed being part of the running action for a change. We love being on the mic, but we often get that FOMO feeling when watching everybody else experiencing the endorphin-rush of the RYCS. For me, the highlight was joining many other runners (who were wearing their official event t-shirts) on the Sea Point Promenade. I loved being able to greet fellow runners and stop for a chat with friends that I bumped into on route. The other highlight was having some fun in the build-up to the event. I think Thabo and I were unofficially competing to make the quirkiest video. Hats off to Sipho, that was some awesome running. I happily concede victory to him in the speed category of the ‘Battle of the Commentators Challenge’, but I am convinced that I won the ‘commentary’ category hands down.”
Altus Schreuder is amazed at how the creative minds behind the Absa RYCS put together such a brilliant concept that got thousands of runners around the country involved and running during these difficult times. “Hosting the Virtual Run on National Heritage Day just made it so much more special,” says Schreuder. “We are great friends (referring to Sipho, Thabo and Sean) and are really supportive of each other, but it was so refreshing to see the competitive side of these guys. Maybe we should do this more often? I was truly devastated when the doctor told me that I had mumps and that exercising was off the cards. The one opportunity that I had to actually take part in an event that I usually commentate at, and then it’s taken away from me. Talk about bad luck. I am very impressed with Sipho’s time. The quieter commentator went out and showed some real class. I’m not so sure that I would’ve done better.”
About the Absa RYCS Heritage Day Virtual Run: An exciting addition to the existing RYCS portfolio of events, the 2020 Heritage Day celebrations got off to an early start with just over 15 000 runners nationwide taking on the much anticipated Absa RYCS Heritage Day Virtual Run on Thursday 24 September. To read the full Race Report CLICK HERE
Charity Support: When entering online participants could choose to support the following Absa RYCS Charities: Cotlands, Johannesburg Heritage Foundation, Johannesburg SPCA, Reach For A Dream Foundation, TREE, Durban & Coast SPCA, LIV Village, iThemba Lethu, help2read, Die Burger Kinderfonds and The Cape Of Good Hope SPCA.
For all you need to know about the Absa Run Your City Series Heritage Day Virtual Run be sure to read through the Event DigiMag CLICK HERE
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