The Wally Hayward Marathon
In October 1976, a marathon was held in Verwoerdburg over 26 Miles, known as the Verwoerdburg Marathon. It was organised by Willem Louw.
This gave rise to the thought of a local marathon club. Willem Louw and the de Beer brothers, Thys and Chris, held an inaugural meeting. Later, "Tiny" Liebenberg and Kobus Louw joined. After affiliating with another group, they became the Verwoerdburg Athletic Club.
This later changed to the Verwoerdburg Marathon Club (and again to the present Alpha Centurion Runners, when Verwoerdburg’s name changed to Centurion.)
The WALLY HAYWARD MARATHON organised by this club, was first run on 30 June 1977, over two rounds of 21Km, starting & finishing at the Verwoerdburg Afrikaans High School.
Later, 21,1 Km was added to the 42,2 Km.
Later still, a 56 Km race was also introduced, but due to traffic and other reasons, had to be discontinued.
In 1997, a 10 Km race was introduced, to cater for the "not so fit", and beginning runners.
The number of athletes increased dramatically over the years, totaling between 8000 and 9000 at one stage, making the WALLY the third largest road race in South Africa, (after COMRADES and TWO OCEANS – at the time).