2007’s Talking Walk Launched

30 000 Walkers converged on Joburg streets last year in the 2006 Discovery 702 Walk the Talk event. This year’s more than 38 000 702landers are gearing up once again to take part in Joburg’s favourite family day.
More than 38 000 walkers will be participating in this year’s Discovery 702 Walk the Talk, making this South Africa’s biggest mass participation event. 

Taking place on Sunday, July 22, 2007, the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk starts and ends at Marks Park Sports Club in Judith Road, Emmarentia. The route meanders through the scenic suburbs of Emmarentia, Greenside, Parktown, Parkhurst, Parkwood and Parkview.
“The first event held in 2000 had about 12 000 entries. Last year we had an outstanding turnout with 32 000 walkers taking part and this year we have more than 38 000 walkers enrolled,” said Talk Radio 702 station manager, Pheladi Gwangwa.
“We believe this to be a record in terms of mass participation. It’s right up there with international events like the New York Marathon, which had 37 800 participants, and the London Marathon with 36 300 participants. This is a remarkable achievement that reflects Joburg’s dedication to fitness, fun and family.”
Due to the record number of entries this year, the starting time of the 5km and 8km race has been changed. Walkers are encouraged to arrive early to ensure that they get to the start of their race on time. There may also be delays during the day due to the volume of people on the roads.
“We need to allow more time for the 8km walkers to access the parking and get to the start so we have moved the start time from 08h30 to 09h30,” said Tanya Harford, race director of Harford Sports Promotion.
“We have also moved the start time of the 5km from 10h30 to 11h30, again to allow time to get everyone in. It’s recommend people make arrangements to arrive at the venue well before their race starts, and to expect the kind of crowd one would see at say an international rugby match or music concert.”
The main parking area is at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. Freeflow pointsmen will be assisting with the traffic flow into and out of the venue, and the roads leading up to the venue.
The City of Joburg has put into place Park and Ride facilities to assist on the day. People can park at Nasrec, Northgate, Bezuidenhout Park, Ruimsig and Athletic Stadium at a cost R20 per car and will be bussed to the venue and back to the Park and Ride area after they have completed the walk.
Great entertainment has been arranged for the day including performances by Denim and PJ Powers. Face painters, magicians and stilt walkers will be there to entertain the kiddies as well as a separate controlled kiddies area.
People can bring picnic baskets and enjoy the day with their families and there will be a public catering village with food and drinks on sale. However, please note, no braais are allowed.
Certain improvements with regards to registration, parking, emergency vehicle access and road closures have been implemented this year in order to accommodate the high volume of walkers and ensure smooth running on the day.
Organisers have increased the orders of toilets, public caterers, signage, sound and event stewards for the venue, as well as the number of paramedics at the event to ensure the safety of each and every walker.
Raised medical observation platforms will be placed down Judith Road with medics highly visible to pick up any medical needs.
To ensure everyone’s safety, several roads in and around Emmarentia will be closed to traffic on the day by Joburg Metro Police, Joburg Roads Agency and the City of Joburg and the road closures will be for longer periods than initially proposed.
Closures will be effective half an hour before each walk begins. Roads will be reopened immediately after every intersection is clear of walkers, therefore allowing the least possible time of closure.
A comprehensive list of all these road closures, as well as a detailed route map, is available on Talk Radio 702’s website.
For residents concerned about getting through the route in the event of an emergency, Netcare 911 – the official medical sponsor to the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk – will be available to help you. If you require any medical assistance on the day, or need to get through any road closures urgency, please call 082 911.
The 082 911 control room is in direct touch with the joint ops centre at Marks Park Sports Club – the nerve centre of the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk – and will dispatch response from the closest point on route, or from the venue.
Netcare ambulances, paramedics and the Netcare 911 helicopter will be on site and assist in all emergencies. The organisers of the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk have ensured that a thorough clean up of the area will be conducted after the event.
Secure parking will be available at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, to be accessed off Thomas Bowler Avenue, from Beyers Naude Drive on the day.
“We have really encouraged the residents of Emmerentia and surrounding areas to come along and enjoy the day,” said Anne Askew of the Emmerentia Residents Association (ERA). “We’ve put a team together from ERA executive community and we’re going to walk together.
“I realise that any event of this size in the community is going to cause a degree of inconvenience so I’m urging residents to look at the bigger picture. It’s just a few hours where people can join together and have a little fun. The event also promotes more awareness of our beautiful suburb.”
The event is not only about having fun, but also about giving back to the community. Funds raised are given to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation – the official benefiting charity organisation of this event.
“Our aim is to get people excited about an active, healthy lifestyle, so Discovery is thrilled that more than 38 000 Joburg citizens will be participating,” said Hylton Kallner, head of marketing for Discovery.
“As founding partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in South Africa, it’s awe-inspiring to know the difference the walkers’ contribution will be making to the lives of Jouburg’s disadvantaged youth.”
The Discovery 702 Walk the Talk is now in its seventh successful year. Permission has been granted by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department for the event, which has also been sanctioned by Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Councillor Amos Masondo.
The City of Joburg – a world-class African City – is hosting the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk, and is a proud partner of the event, which showcases the city’s ability to stage sporting events of this stature.
“The City of Johannesburg is proud to be associated with an event such as the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk,” said City Manager, Mavela Dlamini. “It is not only promoting a culture of healthy living and fitness among our residents, but it provides an opportunity for the City to showcase its ability to organise events of this magnitude to wider audience as we move towards 2010. This is a truly world class event, hosted by Johannesburg – a world class African city.”
All queries relating to the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk and the associated road closures either before the event or on the day can be directed to the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk office on (011) 463-2743. For more information on the race contact the Race Office on (011) 270-2702, e-mail [email protected].
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