Harmony Gold Athletics Club
Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited was formed in 1950 as a Rand Mines managed company to exploit the single Harmony mine lease. In 1997 Harmony severed its links with Rand gold and became an independent, unhedged, South African gold producer. Since then, the company’s directors have set out to grow Harmony into a world-class gold mining company.
When the athletics clubs were established harmony owned the world’s largest gold ore resource and Harmony.
Profile of Harmony Running Club
During the existence of the Harmony Running Club it grew to over 3 000 members in 10 clubs country wide.
In January 2001 the company launched the Harmony Athletics Club, combining the experience of top runners with the enthusiasm of young and upcoming athletes.
Previous Comrades gold medal winners assisted in the development of runners who were at the time employed by Harmony Mining Company, as well as runners from the surrounding communities.
The president of the club is Ferdi Dippenaar, who was the marketing director of Harmony at the time and Nick Bester, winner of the 1991 Comrades marathon, was the manager.
The Harmony Athletics Club hosted clinics at Harmony’s various operations and in the surrounding communities. There were clubs in Northern Gauteng, Central Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Vaal Triangle, North West, Free State, Western Province, Eastern Province, KwaZulu-Natal and Transkei.
Harmony was also a proud sponsor of the Comrades Marathon. The company provided the gold medals to the top 10 men and women. The man and woman, who broke the record, received a solid Harmony Hermes statuette which at the time was valued at approximately R300 000. In addition, the first South African man and woman who crossed the finish line also each received such a statuette to the value of approximately R80 000.
The gold mines have a reputation of having produced some of South Africa’s finest runners in the history of road running. Harmony decided to take the lead by focusing on an initiative to go for Comrades Gold by establishing this new club.
- To promote and develop road running in South Africa at the Harmony Mining Co Ltd mines and their
- To provide members and visitors with regular running activities where they can enjoy and improve their sport.
- To participate in the events of the National and Provincial Athletics Associations.
- To encourage, motivate and train young, upcoming athletes from all walks of life.
- To host development clinics for the employees of Harmony Mining Company and people from the surrounding communities in which the company operates.
- To support prominent and talented South African Athletes in becoming the next generation of champions.
- To be a separate legal persona from its members.
The Harmony House, which was located in Pretoria West, has empowered more than 100 athletes from disadvantaged communities by developing their running talent and by giving them an opportunity to reach his / her potential under experienced supervision. Funded by Harmony, the Harmony House allowed young and upcoming athletes access to professional training facilities, knowledgeable advice and motivation.
Two of our success development stories include:
With Harmony’s support he has won numerous positions in Gauteng North’s Junior Championships. Former resident (2 years), Rennel finished his studies on a part-time basis whilst in training in the Harmony House. Rennel is who was employed by Harmony in the IT Dept after obtaining his National Diploma in Information Technology.
“As a junior athlete from Mafikeng who had goals and ambitions, Harmony played a very important role in the development of my athletic career. The development at the Pretoria house work off at last, as I furthered my studies and improved my athletic goals” – Rennel Stemmer
Gladys joined the Harmony Athletic Club in 2001 and was committed to Harmony House’s full-time development program for professional athletes. Gladys Lukhwareni, ‘mother’ of the Harmony House won the prestigious ‘Female Athlete of the Year’ Award in 2004, at the Runner’s World prize giving ceremony – an annual event held in recognition of South African running and athletes.
HARMONY EMPLOYEES and MINING COMMUNITIES
Harmony envisages providing their employees full access and support to running and fitness programs and activities. We encourage a healthy lifestyle within our company by providing our employees with training advice and motivation. By promoting fitness training to our employees we build relationships between our employees and their immediate communities.
A programme will be rolled out in 2005, with the support of our unions, to promote training programmes and fitness education, amongst approximately 45 000 of our employees in the Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the North West. The objective is to attract employees to adopt running as a sport by joining the HGAC in their respective region to receive advice and reputable training programmes. This will not only promote an individual lifestyle change, but will also promote the sport as a whole in South Africa.
Harmony’s aim is to develop and nurture South African athletes to become champions in South African races. We believe that South African athletes have the talent and determination to succeed amongst world-class athletes in our local races. Harmony was committed to break the strong hold that international athletes enjoy in dominating South African races, by continuously promoting our local talent. Harmony, together with the media and public are experiencing the improvement of South African athletic performances:
- Since 2002 (first year HGAC entered), Harmony has had an average of 5 (Male) & 4 (Female) South African Top 20 finishers of the Two Oceans and Comrades Marathons, representing 36 % (Males) & 19% (Females) of the TOTAL South Africans in the TOP 20.
- 2002, 2004 – First South African Male, 2003 Second South African Male in Comrades.
- 2004 – First South African Female in Comrades.
- 46% of South African males in Top 20 Comrades is from HGAC (2002 – 2004)
- Harmony has donated incentive prizes, worth R150 000, for the 1st South African Male / Female to finish in the Comrades Marathon.
. 2005-Harmony runner Sipho Ngomane won the Comrades marathon.
-Harmony female runner,Tatyana Zhirkova won the Comrades marathon.
-Harmony runner Marco Mambo won the Two Oceans marathon.
. 2006-Harmony athlete Oleg Kharitonov won the Comrades.
-Harmony athlete Mose Njodzi won the Two Oceans marathon.