The 30th Lake Umuzi Kosmos 3 in 1 has come and gone and WOW! what a race it was!
Over the last 32 years, the Kosmos 3 in 1 has truly become the Rainbow Race. More than once, as I walked through Lake Umuzi Waterfront over the weekend, I wished Nelson Mandela or Archbishop Tutu could see what became of their vision of a Rainbow Nation.
Everyone with a common goal of beating the 73,3km of road. A common goal that brings Unity in Diversity.
Unlike other marathons that are over by 11:00, the Kosmos 3 in 1 is a weekend family affair. From 06:00 until 19:00 3 in 1 runners slog it out on the road but don’t forget that they already arrive in Secunda from early on Friday, filling Umuzi Lodge, The Merchant, InnGreen and Kamp Oase until it is time to go home during the course of Sunday. The accommodation is so popular that by 12:00 on Sunday Umuzi Lodge, The Merchant at Lake Umuzi and InnGreen at Lake Umuzi were already fully booked for the following year’s race. The Kosmos effect means that all Guest Houses in the area are full to the brim for the entire Kosmos Weekend instead of being almost empty. It is a huge injection in the Local economy.
Although 2023 was the 30th Kosmos 3 in 1, the event started 32 years ago. The brainchild of Ria van Schalkwyk, Jan Pieterse and Louis Hilligan, the race was run for 10 years until iron man Nic Bester took the event to Pretoria. After one event, the 11th Kosmos 3 in 1 in Pretoria, the organisers called it quits as they realised the magnitude of organising involved with such a unique race, that city mentality simply cannot compete with the small town tenacity which Secunda is known for.
Thus, the 12th Kosmos was dead and buried. Was it not yet again for Ria who wanted to resurrect the Kosmos. At the time, Lake Umuzi Waterfront was being built and, we could foresee the value that an event like the Kosmos 3in1 could have for Sport Tourism and we agreed to become the new Title Sponsors – to give the race a new lease of life. With the help of the Secunda Marathon Club, Sasol Marathon Club and Harmony Marathon Club, the new Kosmos 3in1 committee under the leadership of Dederick Venter, Willie Pruis, Chris Claassen, Ronnie Nelson and others, the 12th Kosmos 3 in 1 was on the road again.
Today the Kosmos 3 in 1 is solely organised by the Secunda Marathon Club and the only other year that the race was skipped was 2021 under the Covid19 rules at the time. In fact, the week following the 2020 Kosmos 3in1, the country was notified by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the country would be locked down and the Kosmos 3 in 1 was the last major sporting event in South Africa before the Lockdown and one of the first to continue in 2022.
This event does not just fall out of the sky, and when we get feedback from the runners it is clear that the residents of Secunda make the difference between the Kosmos 3 in 1 and the other races.
From homeowners and their families hosing the runners down in the heat of the day, to the patient motorists on the road who understand that this is one day in a year that thousands of runners from across the country and neighbouring states fill our roads. When they see the annual blue line appearing, they know that the Kosmos 3 in 1 is approaching. As for the last 30 times that the Kosmos 3in1 has taken place, runners were extremely impressed with the Water Points that local businesses and organisations produce year after year. The Water Points are always a highlight!!
Congratulations to Members of the Secunda Marathon Club, who ensure the smooth running of the event and thanks to Kijima Construction who makes this event so successful. Lake Umuzi looks forward to becoming the new home of the Secunda Marathon Club in the year to come.
To our own staff, who year after year, prepares the facilities to receive the thousands of people, the extra effort beyond the call of duty the early mornings and late nights. I couldn’t be more proud of our own contribution the past 18 years, since Lake Umuzi Waterfront became the home of the Kosmos 3 in 1 Marathon.
This is to the 32 years of history and to many more Kosmos runs in the future. May it grow and continue to be the Rainbow Race of the Rainbow Nation.
Lake Umuzi Waterfront