After a difficult couple of years for both clubs, the Albany Roadrunners and the Saints and Sinners Cycling club have amalgamated to become the Albany Saints and Sinners Multisport Club since 2015. With an entirely new committee in 2018, the Albany Saints and Sinners Multisport Club looks bring back the enthusiasm in the Grahamstown community around running, cycling and any other sports available to people in the town.
Newly appointed chairperson of the club, Jaco van Dyk, is excited about the amalgamation and what it could mean for both sports. “What happened, is this used to be the Albany Roadrunners club. Then about three years we amalgamated with the Saints and Sinners cyclists, because the cyclists had a lot finances to be managed, with no one to manage them, while the runners had people who could manage, but we didn’t have any finances,” said Van Dyk.
Van Dyk is looking to adapt to the changing landscape of sports in Grahamstown, which he says is “becoming more and more diverse”. “I have been speaking a lot to a lot of stakeholders in town when it comes to running, about stopping doing things on their own and start doing things as a conjunctive effort. Right now I am in a very unique position where I’ve got access to all the interested parties and I can get everybody involved, and that’s what I have slowly and surely been doing,” said Van Dyk.
While the club is looking to move forward, they are also not forgetting their roots. Van Dyk mentioned the previous notable members and runners that took part in previous Albany events, including Terri-Lyn and Stephen Penney, the recent runner up of the Two Oceans Half Marathon in the 50-59 age-group Basie Bonaparte, and Richard Foss, whom Bonaparte credits with getting him involved with running in the first place.
In the spirit of these notable runners, the new mission of the club for 2018, “Enable Running” is focused on rejuvenating the sport, and encouraging people from all over the town, no matter their physical conditioning, to get out and run.
Van Dyk has mentioned the club’s development runners programme. “We nominate ten individuals who form part of the development runners group, and the club normally supports them by paying their club fees, providing running vests, and historically, we supplied them with two pairs of running shoes”. The club is, however, unable to provide the shoes this year, due to their rebuilding phase that they are currently in, but will look to re-establish this in the near future.
Running with the club is free, and everyone is welcome to join the club in their weekly time trials on a Tuesday. However, for those that want to join the club and enter events as part of the club, a R340 club fee is required, which partially goes toward the Albany Sports Club, which allows the club to make use of their facilities, and the remainder goes to license fees, which are required for the runners and cyclist to enter EPA League events.
The club is always looking for new members, and Van Dyk encourages people, no matter their ability or pace, to get out and run. “Our mission statement, as I’ve said, is to “enable running”, and the same goes for cycling. From my perspective, if you wna to run or cycle, definitely get in touch with us, because we will be able to point you in the right direction and assist you in your journey in becoming a better runner. We welcome people from all ages and all different speeds,” said Van Dyk.