Runners brave the rain to turn out for Freedom Day Run

The start line for the Langa Run for Freedom 2023 10 kilometre run in Bitterhout Avenue in Langa.

Runners from across the Western Cape headed out to Cape Town’s first township last Thursday, braving the cold and wet weather to participate in the second Freedom Day Run through the streets of Langa.

The energy was electric at the starting line outside the Langa Sports Stadium in Bitterhout Avenue where more than a thousand runners kicked off at 7.30am and crowds lined the streets of the township along the route to cheer runners on.

With residents and supporters waving, singing and loudly encouraging them to make it to the finish line, they followed the route which took them down Washington Street, passing landmarks that are part of the history of this vibrant township that celebrates its centenary this year.

Organisers of the TymeBank Langa Run for Freedom, along with the Langa community, pulled out all the stops to welcome visitors to the friendly township, and visitors from all corners of Cape Town embraced the spirit of community that set the mood for the day.

First across the line for the 10-kilometre run for the second year was Langa Running Club champion William Kaptein, in a spectacular time of 29 minutes 59 seconds, with Tendai Zimuto hot on his heels in a time of 30 minutes and 2 seconds, followed closely by Edward Jack, with a time of 30 minutes and 9 seconds – both members of the Langa Running Club.

Top female runner Fortunate Chidzivo of the Langa Running Club was the first woman to cross the line in an excellent time of 36 minutes and 22 seconds, with Betha Sitariko from Zimbabwe coming in at 36 minutes and 41 seconds to take second place, and Alexa Townsend, also from Langa Running Club, claiming third place in a time of 39 minutes.

Karl Westvig, chief executive of business banking for lead sponsor TymeBank, says: “There’s no more fitting way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cape Town’s first township, than with Langa Running Club’s William Kaptein winning the 10km run for the second time. We are extremely proud to be part of this initiative, which looks set to become Langa’s flagship running event.”

“The turnout we saw today exceeds all my expectations,” says Langa Running Club chairman, Aubrey Issacs. “We were expecting in the region of 1 000 runners to join us for the Freedom Run this year, and we had well over 1 000 runners finishing the 10-kilometre run, with many hundreds more participating in the 6-kilometre run.”

The Langa Running Club is regarded as one the city’s elite running clubs and attracts members from different communities. They count top female runner Fortunate Chidzivo, first women’s winner for 2023, among their members. Chidzivo counts among her many achievements, clinching the women’s title for the Totalsports Two Oceans Half Marathon 2022.

The proceeds from the event will be invested directly back into the athletics club where specific programmes are developed to uplift the young people in the area.

William Kaptein, winner of the Langa Run for Freedom for the second year running, crosses the finish line.
Alexa Townsend (third) with women’s winner Fortunate Chidziko and Betha Sitariko (second).