South Africans showed what they are made of when they participated in the Perth City to Surf event recently. The event serves as a fundraiser for Activ, a charity that provides services for 2,300 people with disabilities, as well as their families. Close to 40,000 people participated this year. The main attraction of the event, which has been run for 35 years, is the 12km walk or run from St Georges Terrace to the City Beach Oval. This year the event incorporated a 42.2km marathon for the first time, as well as a half-marathon, the 12km race, an 11km wheelchair race and a four kilometre walk or run. With free transport from and to the event, including a bus ride back to the starting point, it was a well organised event with few hiccups.
The marathon attracted 1,000 entrants and the half marathon 2,000. Both are the largest number of participants for this sort of event in Western Australia. They were probably enticed by the cash prize pool of $100,000 that was intended to entice Australia's best distance runners, as well as an international field. Having done little or no training, South Africans in the form of Team Ozzawa wore vibrant orange t-shirts. Walking at their own pace, the team members, who ranged in age from 23 to 54 years old, set some very respectable times. The fastest time, which was clocked by Francois van der Heijden, was 1hour 42 minutes.