THE annual National Youth Run to be held on June 2 will take on an international flavour this year.
The Association of Marathons and Distance Running (Aims) have adopted the youth run as part of their development programme aimed at increasing children’s participation in distance running.
This will be the third Aims children races around the world, with the first two being held in Dar es Salaam and San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
The link to the event came through the Comrades Marathon, which is one of over 300 races in 100 countries affiliated to Aims.
The Aims children race programme mirrors many of the objectives behind the youth run, which started in 2009 and is sponsored by the Department of Sport and Recreation.
The support by Aims will see the first 6 000 participants receiving medals and T-shirts for their performances over the five kilometre and 10 km distances.
Although an open competition, the R5 000-plus prize money in the 10 km event is restricted to runners between 15 and 19, while an additional R3 000 will be provided to the five schools with the greatest number of finishers in the combination of 10 km and five kilometre distances.
The youth run was introduced to encourage youngsters to be exposed to the spirit, challenge, adventure and camaraderie of the Comrades Marathon, which this year will see almost 16 000 runners tackle the 89 km challenge the following day.
Traditionally a number of Comrades runners have used the youth run as a warm-up for the Comrades Marathon and this appears set to increase with the new link to Aims.
Both the 10 km and five kilometre events make use of flat, fast beachfront routes. The 10 km race starts at 8.30 am.
Entries are taken online at www.kznathletics.co.za and at the KZN Athletics office at King’s Park track in Walter Gilbert Road until May 30.
Runners will be able to collect their numbers at the Comrades Marathon expo on May 31 and June 1 until 7 pm. As with the Comrades Marathon, the youth run is a pre-entry event and no entries will be taken on race day.