THE VENDA PLAZA in Thohoyandou will next weekend host the opening race of the Fortress Running Series organized by the ISMO Athletics Club which is led by former Two Oceans Marathon winner Israel ‘Izzi’ Morake and Olympics 800m silver medalist Hezekiel Sepeng.

Now in its fourth year, the Fortress Running Series aims to provide running opportunities for citizens who ordinarily do not get to participate in well-organised events.

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“We decided on taking one of the races to Venda because we realize that rural areas are often left behind when events of this nature are organised. The focus is always on the townships and the suburb. And we decided to try and close that gap, and we have been very fortunate that Fortress came on board to help us achieve this goal,” said Morake, winner of the 56km Mother City ultra back in 1992.


Venda Run 2023 takes place at the Venda Plaza in Thohoyandou on July 16 and runners can participate in the half marathon (21.1km), 10km as well as a 5km fun run.

“We are going to Venda for the first time this year and for us this is a sign that we are growing, thanks to the great support from Fortress Retail who owns a shopping mall there,” Morake said.

Venda Plaza to host Fortress Running Series opener
Venda Plaza Race

The Series was launched with a race in Morake’s home in the Eastern Cape back in 2018 and has grown to be run in other townships around the country. Sterkspruit will once again host a race this year on October 8 while the other two races will be in Evaton on August 20 and Kleksdorp on November 19.

Venda will kick-start the 2023 series and Morake and his team will be at the Venda Plaza on Saturday (July 2) to market the race.

“Entries for the race can be done online (enter online) but we will be in Venda at the weekend so that those who cannot access the internet can enter manually. We are very excited to be going to Venda and we encourage the people to come and be a part of what we believe will be an exciting day of running.”

 Entry fees start at R60 for the 5km, R100 for the 10km, and R150 for the 21.1km races. Children under 12 can also participate in the 5km race for free.

By Sport Reporter