Four local cross country athletes participated in the Eastern Province Cross Country Championships on Saturday 4 August, and they all earned medals in their respective categories. The four athletes represented Grahamstown (Makhanda) as they attempted to qualify for the SA X Country Champs in September.
Kendal Rose from DSG took home silver in the Junior women’s category, while Tony Rubombora from St Andrew’s took home bronze in the Junior men’s category. Terri-Lynn Penney and Jene Banfield came first and second respectively in the Veteran Women’s category.
Rose, who holds the women’s record for the Grahamstown parkrun, was not expecting to finish as well as she did. “Nerves were definitely present as I did not really know what to expect. I was running for sheer enjoyment, and I was not expecting much to be honest, so I was pretty pleased with my result,” said Rose.
Rubombora, another parkrun record holder, felt like an underdog heading into the race, but was pleased with his podium finish. “At the beginning I felt as though I was a bit of an underdog because I was running in the Under 19 category,” said Rubombora,” but as the race proceeded I started gaining positions and [felt]more and more confident about my chance at a medal.”
Both Banfield and Penney are excited to be selected to represent their province after strong races. “It is a true blessing from God to be selected to represent EP,” said Banfield. “For me it is a great privilege and honour to represent EP, as not many athletes get the opportunity to do so.”
Penney went into the race having just participated in the half marathon championships a week prior, and felt she could only be able to crack top three. “[I] was aiming for top three,” said Penney, “but [I] really did not expect the win in the vets’ section.”
All four athletes promote running as a healthy lifestyle choice for people who want to get out and be active.
“Cross country is a lot of fun, but it does require you to have strength, speed, endurance and determination,” said Banfield.