Faranani Athletics Club is a Pretoria based club which was founded in 2003 by the following members:
1. Mr Thomas Lalamani
2. Mr Benny Moloko
3. Mr Munyadziwa Magoma
4. Mr Andries Mudau
5. Mr Livhuwani Ramavhale
6. Mr Donald Rasikhinya
During the early 2000s, before the formation of Faranani AC, many aspirant runners in Pretoria coming from regions like the Limpopo Province could not easily access or join the existing running clubs at the time, which were connected to or under corporate companies and various government departments. For example, some of the government/state running clubs had very strict membership policies that prohibited people who did not work for the specific department from becoming a member. It was then that Mr Thomas Lalamani, a member of the Enduro Athletics Club at the time, conceptualized the idea of starting an athletics club that would accommodate these club-less runners who could not be part of the corporate or government based teams.
At the time, another team with a distinctly Tshivenda flavor called Manoni (The Big birds) Athletics Club was already inexistence and there was a feeling that the stray runners could affiliate with Manoni Athletics Club. Another suggestion was tabled for the club-less runners to join the Harmony Gold team, which was coached by Nick Bester at the time, because the club-less runners used to do weekly time-trial training together with Harmony’s runners during the latter’s weekly time trails. Again, members like Mr Lalamani were adamant that a new club should be established that would someday compete with the likes of Harmony Gold.
As a result Faranani Athletics Club was formed in 2003. The name, Faranani which means holding/supporting one another or togetherness, was the brainchild of Mr Livhuwani Victor Ramavhale, who saw this new club as being a support structure for all manner of runners. The early years before and after the formation of the club were not easy as Mr Munyadziwa Magoma surmises them as being “very difficult”. Between 2006 and 2012 the club underwent some turbulent transitions with some of the founding members relocating to other cities mainly due to various work commitments. However, Mr Ramavhale remained the anchor of the club throughout those years and is currently serving as the club’s chairperson. Some of the founding members like Mr Donald Rasikhinya (Farwi Civil Construction & Vunda Construction) and Mr Munyadziwa Magoma (Vhubvo Archaeologists & Heritage Consultants) have continued to support the club over the past couple of years through generous financial sponsorship via their respective businesses.
In recent years the club has enjoyed some moderate success by managing to attract more members from just above 20 in 2013, to beyond 50 in 2015 and over 120 active members in 2016. This growth was most evident in the 2016 Comrades Marathon where the club had a representation of 42 members, who all finished the race within the 12 hours’ cut-off time. This was a drastic improvement from 2004 when the club only had 2 runners representing it at the Comrades Marathon. In 2017, Faranani Athletics Club continued to grow in terms of membership and athletes participation at the Comrades Marathon. Out of 73 athletes who participated at the 2017 Comrades Marathon, 69 managed to finish the race within the cut-off time.
When the club was founded in 2003, it had the following ambitions: firstly, to produce competitive runners who could go for gold at the elite marathon races, and secondly, to encourage distance running as a desirable lifestyle among able-bodied people in and around the Pretoria CBD. We can safely report that the current generation is living up to those goals, as Faranani AC was the third ranked club from the Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) region and 35th overall (out of 548 teams) at the 2016 Comrades Marathon.