About

About Rocky Road Runners. Rockies.
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YEARS OF ROCKIES.

As one of the oldest and most established running clubs in South Africa, we offer a great forum and support for runners to do what they love – running. We also welcome walkers and have designated walks and time trials. We are centrally based at The Zoo Lake Sports Club Cnr of Lower Park Drive and Westwold Way in Parkwood.

2016 Committee Members

  • Chairmain: Saul Levin
  • Vice-Chairman: Stan Medalie
  • Honorary Treasurer: Rodney Plett
  • Honorary Secretary: Shakir Dudhia
  • Club Captain: Matodzi Tshidzumba
  • Adri Albertyn
  • Moses Mapaila
  • Mpumi Masiko
  • Leuba Mothapo
  • Les Sutcliffe

CLUB RUNS

Our club runs take place every Sunday and start at 6am from the ZLSC. Distances vary from 16 to 40mm depending on the time of year. We incorporate a shorter run of about 21km if the run on the day is more than 25km, and each route has ample water and Coke stops. There is also a walk every Sunday at 7am from Zoo Lake, and distances range between about 10km to 16km.

LONG CLUB RUNS

Our pre-Comrades 65km long club run, usually held on the second Sunday of May, draws hundreds of Rockies and non-members each year. It is endorsed by the official Comrades coach and Rockies honorary vice president Don Oliver, who also designed the route. There are refreshment points approximately every 3km.

TIME TRIALS

We have a 5km time trial every Saturday morning at 7.30am from the Zoo Lake Moyo restaurant parking lot. This time trial has been going for 25 years, and is timed by Val and Richard Wilkinson, who are well known on the running scene.

ROCKIES SASFIN GERALD FOX MEMORIAL RACE

Sasfin
Each year Rockies hosts the Sasfin Gerald Fox Memorial. The 21km and 10km, named in the memory of Gerald Fox, takes place in September starting from the Johannesburg Zoo. This race was first run in September 2004 and Sasfin is the title sponsor. It is a very popular race and attracts on average 3 000 runners and walkers.

ZOO TROT

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RUNNING GROUPS

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 5.45am: Old Eds parking lot (Virgin Active Gym) Houghton

COMRADES

Rockies offers members Comrades transport and an accommodation package at a greatly reduced fare. We also provide at least three much-appreciated seconding points during the second half of the Comrades route.

NEWSLETTER

Newsletters detailing news and upcoming runs as well as club events are sent out via email on a regular basis. They are also posted to our website – read here.

SOCIALS

We have social braais after events such as Comrades, the AGM and prizegiving at no cost to our members.

The History of Rockies

Rocky Road Runners was formed in 1975 by a group of breakaway runners from Germiston Callies Harriers. The name Rockies originated when a motorist asked a group of runners where they were running to. When told the destination was the airport, the motorist said,

“You must have rocks in your head”

Among the founding members were Manny Heyman, who was the first president, Joe Stutzen as vice president and Ivor Lazerson as chairman. Jeff Fisher took over as chairman and remained in that position for nine years. Over the years, we’ve had well-known members such as Bruce Fordyce, Frith van der Merwe, Johnny Halberstadt, Bernard Rose and Alan Robb (who is still a member), and we’ve nurtured many other good runners who have moved on to professional clubs.

Over the years, we have enjoyed sponsorship from Allied, Mr Price, and Netcare 911. Thanks for coming to the party guys, much appreciated.

A Rockies History by Richard Wilkinson

We started a running group in Johannesburg in 1971 I had just arrived in Johannesburg from Cape Town. I had already done a few Comrades Marathons and was a committed runner.

In those days running was not in vogue at all.You could count on one hand runners and even the Comrades awarded us silver medals just for finishing the race in less than 11 hours.

On one of my early training runs, I met Robin Treger who was also running. I convinced him to start training in earnest for Comrades. He in turn introduced me to Manny Hayman and a few other runners such as:

  • Lennie Myers (Little Lenny); a great, fast and dedicated runner with a lovely sense of humour.
  • Jeff Fisher, I think he had run a Comrades, was fit and knowledgeable person.
  • Dave Ibry, a Swiss runner
  • Lennie Myers (Big Lennie)
  • The Finestone brothers

We started our runs every Sunday morning outside Manny’s home in Bramley. We would choose a route run to a cafe and wait for the slowest runner to catch us up. Then we would run back to Manny’s for tea.

Over time, we started to gather more and more runners who came on a Sunday. Comrades was only for a few of us as the running explosion had not yet taken off. People started to join us almost every week and we grew and grew.

Among the runners were:

Dave Hirshorn, Alan Pollack, Ivor  Lazerson,  Alan Reichman, Ian Shaipkatz, Dickie Kinross, John Brand, Don Oliver, Richard Wilkinson, Zummy Isaacs, Dick Pike, Pat Smith, Joe Shapiro, Jack Adno, Mike Codron, Norman Schwab, Gerald Fox, Roy Krowitz, Iss Bulafkin, Gerald Lampert (Doc) & Gerald Lampert (Sweets) to name few.

A lot of us had our own running groups starting from our homes where we used to run during the week.

We were also members of different local clubs that existed such as Callies, Wanderers and Pirates.

As we grew, Manny’s neighbors got more and more uptight about the noise that us runners were making early in the morning so we moved to the area near the Bramley Scout Hall.

We called ourselves “Rockies” after a few things. We called Manny “The Rock” because he was so reliable with his steady pace. We also liked the name as it was after the Road Runner bird and at that time the Beatles had a song called Rocky Racona.

One day we all sat around Manny’s swimming pool discussing the possibility of starting a proper running club.

Although we ran for different clubs we had already established an identity and we’re known as Rockies!

Most of the existing clubs catered mainly for the fast few elite runners and gave no thought for the back of the pack runners. At this time, a few other runners were breaking away from the old established clubs to form their own identities in their areas.

There was Mike Hay, who left Callie’s to start Spring Striders; Tommy Malone who started Benoni Harriers as well as Dick and Vreni Welsh who started R.A.C.

We decided to form a proper club with the following principles:

  • We would be a completely open club and allow any person of colour to join.
  • We would cater for the back runners and make him feel welcome.

We would call ourselves Rocky Road Runners and had as our emblem the Rocky Road Runner bird.

And that’s how we started.

Then the running explosion took off.

I think that Jeff Fisher was our first chairman.

Ivor Lazerson took control of Transvaal Road Running and took it to new heights. We were basically a Comrades running club and would feature very high on the list if entrants each and every year.

We were a very go-ahead club and came out with some very new and novel ideas for road running.

Amongst them:

  • We had name tags printed on our vests to make it very personal.
  • We were the first running club to organise a road race without having cars on the road as seconds.
  • We introduced refreshment tables.
  • We also invented the chute finishing system for better and quicker results.
  • We had established a great sense of spirit and although we were not very social drinking club we made it a point to greet and watch over every person in our club.
  • We had our own two colour magazine.
  • We also started the Comrades Panel Talks where we would give assistance to all runners this became the forerunner of many other talks around the country.
  • We introduced differently abled runners in the sport by trading and developing first blind runners and the moving on to assisting runners of all disabilities.

Rockies have the proud distinction of being awarded over 5 different times the “Spirit of Comrades Award” amongst others.

We are known worldwide we have runners in England, Australia and there is even a Rockys2 club based in Canada.