Ezibeleni runner motivates youth to ditch drugs, crime

 

COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Ezibeleni runner Xolani Bulana, back row, fifth from right, proudly poses with local residents who supported him as he took part in the 2021 Buffs Virtual Marathon recently Picture: SUPPLIED

A 42.2km run in “gruelling road conditions with never-ending potholes” in Ezibeleni was about more than just finishing the race for passionate runner Xolani Bulana.

He also wanted to highlight the importance of taking care of one’s health and encourage the youth to stay away from drugs and crime.

Bulana completed the 2021 Buffs Virtual Marathon in a time of 03.10.10 recently.

Runners had to complete either the “DIY 42.2km” or “DIY 21.1km” on their chosen route.
Bulana said he ran four laps around Ezibeleni, a totally new and exciting experience for him. “The most challenging part was the poor conditions of the roads, potholes turning into dams in the muddy sections of the township.”

He said it was important to follow the rules of the competition, including Covid-19 regulations. He ran the race alone as per the rules, but with a lot of support from the local community.

Born and raised in Ezibeleni, Bulana said it was a pity he took a long time to discover his love for the sport. He said: “I have a passion for running, especially long distances, but am not a pro or podium runner.” He stressed that getting involved in any sporting activity could help take care of one’s health.

After the race he was relieved because he had accomplished his main objectives, he said.

“To the youth, I want to say that even if we come from a disgruntled community as [Ezibeleni] that must not stop us from doing what we love and what we are passionate about. Love, respect, Ubuntu and sport used to be the order of the day. Now crime is rife, young boys and men are hooked on drugs, young girls depend on alcohol and older men for validation – self respect is no longer there.”

He hoped to hold a similar sporting event every year “to revisit those sporting and cultural activities that used to bring us closer as a community”.

Bulana appealed to the business community to assist where possible. He thanked all his sponsors, the Enoch Mgijima traffic department, health department, the police and the community at large.

“After the run I felt very emotional because of the support shown by the community of Ezibeleni.”

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