When the starter’s gun fires this Friday for Mossel Bay’s first lighthouse-to-lighthouse trail run, it’ll be firing, too, for the start of three weeks of sporting excitement for the town – with no less than three different national championships, a provincial championship, and a festival featuring events in more than thirty different odes on offer.
“The council took a strategic decision three years ago to position Mossel Bay as the sporting capital of the Southern Cape – and we’re excited to see that the people of the town have got behind the idea in a big way,” said Mossel Bay Tourism’s Marcia Holm. “The council and municipality have created the enabling environment – but all the events we’ll be seeing over the next three weeks were organised by individuals and sport clubs, and they all deserve many thanks for their dedication and hard work.”
The three-week-long feast will begin with the 3rd Oystercatcher Trail Run – from Ystervarkpunt Lighthouse on Rein’s Coastal Nature Reserve to Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse at The Point, Mossel Bay – which is limited to a maximum of 150 athletes, and which was sold out within hours of opening.
Event host and Mossel Bay Tourism Board member, Fred Orban (of Sandpiper Cottages, and The Oystercatcher Trail and Hunter-gatherer Trail luxury walks) said that sport and sporting opportunities are amongst the biggest attractions for visitors to Mossel Bay.
“The media and social media coverage of the events of the next three weeks will provide a massive boost to Mossel Bay Tourism’s marketing, and will showcase Mossel Bay as a top destination for athletes and their families,” he said.
The Southern Cape Board Riders Association’s Llewellyn Whittaker – owner of Mossel Bay’s Waves School of Surfing – said that Surfing South Africa’s Open Surfing Championships will take place at The Point, Mossel Bay, from 24 to 28 September.
“It promises to be a hotly contested event, with over 150 people taking part, and with two-times SA champ Casey Grant returning to defend his title.”
The new South African Surfing team will receive their colors at the Protea Hotel Mossel Bay on the evening of the 24th.
PetroSA’s annual Development Run will take place on the 23rd of September at D’Almeida Sports Grounds – and runners are asked to bring their old running shoes to the event, and to donate them (via Shoes For Planet Earth) to help children and teens who also love the sport, but can’t afford the equipment. The run is the traditional precursor to the annual PetroSA Marathon (10, 21, and 42 km road races on 27 September at Santos Caravan Park), which expects to draw a number of international athletes this year, and which has recently been accredited by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Association for International Marathon Standards (AIMS). This means that participants in the PetroSA Marathon can now use the event as a qualifier for participation in any international road running event around the world, and even for events like the Commonwealth Games or the Olympic Games.
Although the PetroSA Marathon takes place a week before Mossel Bay’s Annual Sports Festival (a decision influenced by the differences between the national athletics calendar and the national school calendar), it is nevertheless considered one of the iconic and official events of the Festival.
The Festival itself will run from the 3rd to the 8th of October, and will include the first leg of SA Sailing’s Southern Charter Grand Slam Series – which aims to promote and develop competitive dinghy and multihull racing and also “to attract the attention of people looking for a vibrant sport-code in which they can invest their time, energies and resources.” (www.sasgrandslam.co.za)
“The Mossel Bay Boat and Yacht Club will be organising the event as the Southern Regional Champs incorporating the Eastern Cape Provincials 2014, as well as the South African Mosquitoes (catamaran) and Fireballs (dinghy) Championships,” said Elfie Holden, who is helping to organise the regatta.
She said that the event will attract in excess of 140 people.
Mossel Bay’s Sports Festival also features the country’s biggest cricket tournament: the KFC Point High Cricket Festival (3 – 7 October), which has drawn entries from 32 teams from South Africa and Namibia, who will play a total of 61 games on 16 fields.
Other highlights of the Festival include a motorsports gymkhana, soccer, skateboarding, bowls, cycling, jukskei, schools athletics, and golf (the Pinnacle Point and Mossel Bay Golf Courses have teamed up to create the first ever ‘Best of Mossel Bay’ tournament on 3 and 4 October – which will include one round at each course, shared cart hire at Pinnacle Point, prize-giving ceremonies on both days, and an evenings of entertainment at Pinnacle Point – all for just R 600.00 per player).
But, said Ms. Holm, the Festival isn’t only for athletes.
“We want to make this an event for everyone, so there’ll also be a doggie walk in aid of the SPCA, as well as the MossMarch – our always popular mass walk – and a great street party on Saturday the 4th of October.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to Mossel Bay,” she said. •
Please visit Mossel Bay Tourism’s online calendar for information about individual events: www.visitmosselbay.co.za. •
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