SASSA Comrades at it!
By Moabi Pitsi
Each one of us must participate in the Comrades at least one in our lifetime. On a chilly Sunday morning of 09 June 2019, thousands of athletes gathered at the heavenly Durban, to run one of Africa's grueling race – The Comrades Marathon. The never ending sweat, the focused training, and the total discipline and commitment makes running the Comrades ultra-marathon a life-changing experience, if not the Damascus moment.
Over 300 000 people, both men and women, of all races take part in this motivation-fuelling race to "celebrate mankind's spirit over adversity". One of participants in this years race was Musiwalo Sikhauli, a SASSA official. Other SASSA officials who participated in the Comrades 2019 were Tshepo Shibambu, Nelisa Motsatsi, Stanley Khumalo and George Seeletsa. In fact, Musiwalo, is one of the many public servants, who every year, or at some point of life, take part in the Comrades Marathon. "It was tough because it was an uprun, but I told myself that I must finish.It felt good to cross the finishing line" says Stanley Khumalo.
This year's "uprun" (from Durban to Pietermaritzburg) kept Musiwalo busy with regular training in his Faranani Athletic Club colours, which this year had 140 entries and 115 finishes for Comrades Marathon. "We target Comrades Marathon as the ultimate race", said a fit looking Musiwalo. The SASSA Wellness Programme, has also helped Musiwalo and many SASSA officials, to attain their life goals, such as participation in Comrades Marathon.
According to Musiwalo, running provides numerous health benefits. Firstly, it made him health conscious, contributes to weight loss, control sugar levels. "When you do long distances, you experience mental freedom. You actually forget about running, but focus on spiritual and other issues when running". Musiwalo is right. There is more to just running. One runner, Adv Marukgwane, a legal adviser at Gauteng Legislature, who has now been dubbed the "Reading, Running Advocate", has run the 89 kilometre race to raise awareness about reading and literacy. "I love challenges, so conquering Comrades is a must on my bucket list, especially when doing it for a good cause", says Adv Marukgwane.