In my previous post I mentioned something about rules and regulations and not being allowed to advertise in races here in South Africa. This caused quite a reaction so I decided to post more about running in South Africa.
The main reaction was about me saying we have to run in plain/blank t-shirts as advertising is not permitted. This is a very serious and strict rule. If you don’t belong to a club and therefore don’t run in club colors, you must wear plain clothing and not display any brand or logo on your shirt or shorts.
There is a very strong club structure in road running here in South Africa and most runners belong to a club. Every year you register and get a license number for the year from the province where you reside. This is my 2012 running license from CGA (Central Gauteng Athletics). I have to wear this with my club colors for every race I do. Some races will have its own number and then the license will go on your back with the race number at the front. Some races have two numbers but you can’t enter these without your license number or by buying a temporary license for the race.
I have to wear my club colors as it is registered with CGA and ASA (Athletics South Africa). For example, I am not allowed to wear any other color shorts than black with my club vest/shirt. The club color is black and any other color is not allowed. There are hundreds of running clubs inSouth Africa, all with their club colors that the members have to wear with their license numbers for the year. If you don’t belong to a club you have to buy a temporary license at R25.00 per race and wear that on your plain clothes. No advertising allowed!
South African runners are not allowed to enter the Comrades Marathon if they don’t belong to a club. In Comrades you are not allowed to wear a hat or anything that does not have the race or sponsor’s logo on it. It you wear you New Balance or Adidas hat/cap you will be disqualified. With that, as in all other races you have to wear your correct club colors. I remember in 1997 I wore an old Kellogs 32km t-shirt inside out over my club vest the first few kilometers of Comrades because it was cold. At 7km a race marshal pulled me off the road and I had to remove the shirt before I could continue the race.
Trail running does not require club membership yet, but most races will have some rules about clothing and advertising. Most races will also not allow runners to run shirtless. This can lead to disqualification from the race.
All these rules may sound strict and a bit way out to some, but if it wasn’t for the clubs and their members we wouldn’t have so many races to choose from every weekend here in SA. Most clubs host races and that’s why I can literally choose from 2 to 4 races every weekend. It may well be silly rules with club colors and shirts, but I’d rather have that and then many races to choose from than no clubs and few races to run.
Thanks for reading! Have a great week everyone!