Local celebrity Tsepiso Nzayo will be one of the pairs of feet completing the GBS Mutual Bank Mountain Drive Half Marathon on 25 August. The entrepreneur who stuck his neck out to pioneer isiXhosa stand-up and a Grahamstown (Makhanda) comedy club, long before the Festival made stand-up comedy fashionable, is also a more than competent long-distance runner who recently completed the Comrades Marathon.
Tsepiso, as his fans know him, will be among the pack on the day of the GBS 21km.
“I am excited and also feeling nervous at the same time,” said Nzayo. “I am excited because people do acknowledge and trust me to associate their brand with me. I am nervous because, as a recreational runner, many people will be looking at me. All in all, I am ready for the challenge.”
Despite having recently completed the Comrades, Nzayo is aware of the different challenge that the GBS Mountain Drive poses. “I will prepare just like I do for any other race,” said Nzayo, “but Mountain Drive has a long gravel road hill, so that means I will have do hill repeats and more gravel road training.
“A half marathon is very fast compared to Comrades, so I will have to be very fast. I hope to improve my time of one hour and 25 minutes on that course [from last year].”
As Event Ambassador, Nzayo has engaged the organisers’ vision to bring Grahamstown together through sport and a family atmosphere. “It’s a good vision because sport does bring people together, and running is one of the sports where race and class don’t matter,” said Nzayo. “We are all the same on the road.”
He said he started running in 2017. “I love running in Makhanda, that is why I take every opportunity I get when it arises. I don’t usually run in Makhanda. I love running in front of the people,” Nzyayo said.
With the event drawing closer, this mid-July weekend is the last opportunity to register for the early bird entry, which gives entrants a discount on the registration fee (currently R90 if you have an ASA license). Early birds register with R80 (if you’re ASA licenced). A temporary licence will be provided for those without one, making the total registration cost R120 per person; and R110 for early birds.
In addition to that saving, early bird entrants are rewarded for their preparedness with a Mugg & Bean coffee voucher that is redeemable at any Mugg & Bean across South Africa. Early bird registration closes on Sunday 15 July.