JOHANNESBURG – If it is May Day, then it is time for the Miway Wally Hayward Marathon out in Centurion, Pretoria.
This popular Comrades qualifying race has been growing from strength to strength over the years.
The refrain “are you going to Wally?” is commonplace in April and the parting phrase for many a runner after the Two Oceans Marathon.
Runners love the two lapper as they see it not only as the ideal race to fine tune their preparations for the upcoming Comrades in June but also as a way for them to get a better seeding for the Ultimate Human Race.
Do not, however, let anyone tell you that Wally is an easy race. Far from it. After all, the country’s capital city – with its very hilly terrains – does not have such a thing as an easy race.
Tomorrow’s race – which is run from the Centurion Rugby Club – promises to see many runners improving their seeding for the Comrades and many, those who like to leave things a little late, only attaining their qualification.
Whether last year’s winners Raphael Segodi and Jennifer Koech will be able to retain their titles remains to be seen, although historically back to back victories are as rare as snow in the Sahara.
Last year’s runner-up in the female category Cobi Smith has looked in great form already this year and will definitely be out to go one better.
The race also encompasses a half marathon as well as a 10km event.
Granted there will be excitement at the finish as the winners come in just before the two and a half hour mark for the males and shortly before the three hour mark for the female winners.
But the Centurion Club will be more abuzz at the four hour and 50 minutes mark as a big group of runners strive to scramble home in time to qualify for this year’s Comrades.
The Miway Wallly Hayward Marathon is, after all, the last qualifying race and it always provides incredible scenes of unbridled joy on the one hand and of utter despair on the other as runners either earn or fail to book that spot at the Comrades.