RAC - ABOUT US
Rand Athletic Club (RAC) is one of the oldest running clubs in South Africa, made up of runners, walkers, trail runners, ultra-marathoners and social members. It is a club known for its rich running history and tradition, and its huge attendance at time trial evenings. Up to 500 runners would often gather at the clubhouse on Tuesday evenings to take part in the tough but rewarding 5km or 8km time trial.
The club dates back to 1972, and over the years many well-known faces and talented runners have been part of RAC.
The club’s first chairman was Fritz Madel and in 1973 the club constitution and colours were accepted. Member subscriptions were set at a mere R4 per year, with running licenses costing just R1.50.
Initially, the young club battled to take off but after some hard work, membership began to increase. Little did they know at the time, that they would be creating a club that would become a pillar of the running community in decades to come.
In 1973 six RAC members completed the Comrades Marathon. At that stage the club had 37 members. In 1974 it was agreed that women could join the club and Pam Potter was the first female member to join RAC.
The club policy, as set out in 1974, is still followed today:
“To always be there for all runners and not to simply concentrate on
a few of the best or elite athletes”
THE EARLY YEARS
Dick Welch, RAC's current chairman, joined the club in 1975 after he was transferred to Johannesburg from Mpumalanga. By then, there were about 60 members who formed several different groups, running from different places.
“Initially there was no clubhouse and the runners started their morning training runs from a lamp post in Northcliff. We got up to all kinds of mischief on the runs in those days. I will never forget the time each one of us got a turn to lead the run. If it was your turn, you could decide when to turn. At one stage everyone just kept on turning right. We must have gone around the same block about 25 times! Eventually someone turned left,” chuckled Dick.
Dick reminisces of runs where Fritz would take a group of runners on a 16km route in Northcliff. One day, some of the guys measured it and found it was only 15km.
“Fritz was mortified. His logbook had to be changed and he insisted the measuring wheel was wrong. These are the spirited guys who started the club and ran in those days. We had a lot of fun and giggles. We used to pick up members along the way. That’s how the club grew.”
RAC CLUB HOUSE
RAC is based at the Old Parktonian Sports Club in Bordeaux, Randburg.
Track and coaching is done on the Old Parks sports fields, and our runners have spent many happy hours under the huge tipuana tree, sharing drinks, and meals at the Tipu Café.
Our very popular Time Trial runs have often seen up to 500 runners, and our Club Run routes will all take you on the most scenic tours of our beautiful leafy Johannesburg suburbs , while offering a varied and testing workouts.