Ricochet News

25th Caltex Sole Destroyer half-marathon taking place this Sunday

Sep 12, 2017
25th Caltex Sole Destroyer half-marathon taking place this Sunday

FOR 25 years, the Caltex Sole Destroyer half-marathon has tested the endurance and stamina of Border athletes on the 'tough but scenic' 21km route through East London’s Horseshoe Valley – and it’s all systems go for this year’s challenge on 17 September 2017.

Hosted by Oxford Striders, the race is named for legendary East London runner Chris Sole and traverses his favourite tracks from his days as a champion schoolboy runner, over the half-marathon route as well as the 9km Sole Teaser.

Dillion Pretorius, heading the Sole Destroyer Organising Committee said that arrangements for next Sunday’s race are going smoothly and that they are confident that the race is going to be a huge success. 

“This year we created an online registration portal to make the registration process as accessible as possible and by close of business on Tuesday last week close to four hundred (400) entries was recorded” Pretorius noted. 

“More than seven hundred (700) runners participated in the 21km half marathon last year and we are confident that the 2017 race will attract even larger numbers” Pretorius added 

Oxford Striders chairman Dillon Pretorius said the race slogan “Don’t Let it Break You” summed up the challenge, with the first half run on dirt roads, with several challenging hill climbs and descents leading to the aptly-named Heart Break Hill at 7.5km into the race. 

“At 12.5km athletes are confronted with a leg jarring descent followed by a relatively flat and fast section through East London’s suburbs until at 18.5km they reach the final sting in the tail, the climb up Willasdale Drive,” Pretorius said.

Pretorius noted that the race’s naming sponsor, Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM), has been involved in the event for the past 11 years, contributing to its growth from a small race to “a premier event, and an annual highlight on the East London running calendar”.

He said the Caltex sponsorship had enabled the organisers to invest in a top-quality timing system that will improve the timing of races to the next level and contribute to running in the Border region, with the 2017 Caltex Sole Destroyer the first race in the area to be timed with the new system.

In just three years, the race has grown from 383 finishers in 2014, to 702 last year, and the organisers are planning for more growth this year and into the future, with Caltex sponsoring T-shirts for the first 1,000 entries in the 21km and the first 300 in the 9km race.

CECM chief executive Clive Berlyn, himself an avid runner, said the company was proud of its long-standing association with the Sole Destroyer.

“Our support is aimed at giving athletes a professionally-organised and enjoyable race experience, and at making sure that their families and supporters have a great day out in these beautiful surroundings. We are thrilled to see how the organisers have embraced our partnership and that we have been able to contribute to growing this event to its current premier stature,” Berlyn said.

Top South African marathon-runner Lusapho April, a double Olympian who trains in East London and Hogsback, is the official Race Ambassador will be on hand to motivate runners at the pre-race time trial this see evening (Tuesday, 12 September) and at the start and finish on the day.

“I've been a member of Oxford Striders from 2007 and it's always a pleasure to support their races. Caltex as the sponsor of the Sole Destroyer is very important to our club and this race – without them it wouldn't be possible to stage a great race,” said April.

The Sole Destroyer starts from Smithfield Street in Cambridge at 6.30am on Sunday, 17 September 2017, and finishes at Oxford Striders, Beach Road, Nahoon. The 9km Sole Teaser starts and finishes at Oxford Striders, with a 7am start.

Entry forms can still be collected at various Caltex Service Stations in and around East London or downloaded from http://bit.ly/2wxUiyh #CaltexSoleDestroyer.

Registration will take place on Thursday 14 Sept - 17h00-19h00, Friday 15 Sept - 17h00-19h00 and Saturday 16 Sept - 09h00-12h00 at the Oxford Striders Club House.  Runners are reminded that no entries will be accepted on the morning of the race.

Image: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED– (Left to Right) Helen Pretorius (Oxford Striders), Vusumzi Zondo (Oxford Striders), Clive Berlyn (CECM Sponsor) and Nkosinathi Nzingo (Nedbank Running Club) attended the recent launch of the 25th Caltex Sole Destroyer Race. (Photographer: Jarryd Piater)