Celebration of post-COVID running through the Constantia Winelands

Siviwe Nkombi and Emily Djock took honours at the annual K-Way VOB Grape Run Half Marathon, run through a network of Constantia Valley Wine Estates this morning in a celebration of running’s return from the impact of the COVID pandemic.

Winning smile – Siviwe Nkombi wins the 21km Grape Run. Photo – Stephen Granger

Race fields have been gradually returning to their pre-COVID numbers, with almost 1500 participants enjoying the delights of the Grape Run’s off-road 14km and 21km races through some of Cape Town’s most historic and scenic vineyards.

Winner of Grape Run 14km Msindisi Gmani (right) and Inam Mbatsa. Photo – Stephen Granger

Honours in the shorter race were split between the youth and the aging, with the talented junior pair from the host club, Msindisi Gmani and Inam Mbatsa, taking the top two places in the men’s contest and Nedbank’s Oberina Kanyongo (masters 50-59yrs) and Busiswe Matiwane (masters 40-49yrs) filling the top two podium places in the women’s competition.

One of Cape Town’s most popular races on the calendar, the Grape Run was one of the few events on the road-running calendar that took place last year.  Run largely on gravel roads with plenty of vertical metres gained and lost during the competition, the challenging course offers a cross-over between road and trail, with both Nkombi (Murray and Roberts) and Djock (Atlantic Athletics Club) known for their prowess over more technically-challenging mountain trails.

Emily Djock – won first prize in the 21km Grape Run. Photo – Stephen Granger

“I had a good run, and kept to a consistent pace throughout,” commented Nkombi.  “But I noticed that the guys with me seemed to vanish after the first kilometre!”  Nkombi finished two minutes clear of Century City’s Gilbert Mutandiro with Siyabonga Sakwe, who has also raced well on the trails this year, third.

Nkombi has enjoyed several months of strong running, winning the 20km Cape Winelands Maxi Race last month and finished a close runner-up in the Cape Town Trail 24km, while Djock won the Puffer 65km in September and last week’s Fairview Goat Run.

Retail Langa athlete, Alexa Townsend was first across the line in the women’s race in the Grape Run 21km this morning, but her failure to wear her second license number cost her first prize and served as a warning to all to purchase a temporary license should they arrive at a race without the obligatory licenses.


Still at the top after three decades – John September wins the Masters 50yrs age group at the 21km Grape Run. Photo – Stephen Granger

Grape Run 21km

Men: 1 Siviwe Nkombi (M&R) 1:15:58; 2 Gilbert Mutandiro (Cent City) 1:17:54; 3 Siyabonga Sakwe (Ned) 1:19:36

Masters 40yrs: 1 Sakwe; 2 Tsungai Mwanengeni (RCS Gugs) 1:25:37; 3 Simphiwe Veli (RCS Gugs) 1:25:40

Masters 50yrs: 1 John September (Itheko) 1:26:19

Masters 60yrs: 1 Paul Ciewerts (Pine) 1:37:42

Masters 70yrs: 1 Frank Smith (Celtic) 2:56:42

Women: 1 Emily Djock (AAC) 1:34:14; 2 Elme Middelmost (Bracken) 1:40:09; 3 Rachel D (tmp licence) 1:44:24

Masters 40yrs: 1Middlemost; 2 Michelle van Zyl (Harf Har) 1:41:42; 3 Melany Porter (Pine) 1:51:30

Masters 50yrs: 1 Jana Trojan (K-Way VOB) 1:45:58

Masters 60yrs: 1 Georgina Andraos (K-Way VOB) 1:48:42

Masters 70yrs: 1 Nancy Will (Pine) 2:01:48

Grape Run 14km

Men: 1 Msindisi Gmani (K-Way VOB) 53:15; 2 Inam Mbatsa (K-Way VOB) 53:42; 3 Simon Raad (ATC) 54:19  

Juniors: 1 Gmani; 2 Mbatsa; 3 Akum Dzina (RCS Gugs) 55:35

Masters 40yrs: 1 Moscow Skosana (Cent City) 58:55

Masters 50yrs: 1 Colin George (K-Way VOB) 57:35

Masters 60yrs: 1 Gemkikele Tom (Champion) 1:14:42

Masters 70yrs: 1 Neville Friesch (F Hoek) 1:17:18

Women: 1 Obertina Kanyongo (Ned) 1:03:28; 2 Busisiwe Matiwane (Ned) 1:06:26; 3 Elandri Schmidt (Ath Acad) 1:06:30

Juniors: 1 Schmidt; 2 Rebecca Monk (ATC) 1:06:47; 3 Alulutho Milthani (Khay) 1:17:42

Masters 40yrs: 1 Matiwane

Masters 50yrs: 1 Kanyongo

Masters 60yrs: 1 Maria Kiley (K-Way VOB) 1:17:43

Masters 70yrs: 1 Helen du Plessis (Bracken) 1:42:23