The Zoo Lake Runners Group was founded by Hendrick Ramaala back in 1994.

The group trains on the legendary 3.5km grass loop at the Zoo Lake Park in Johannesburg. The course was designed by Ramaala himself.  Ramaala decided to move to this grass venue in order to avoid hard road surfaces which gave him serious injuries.

The group is open to elite and social runners from all backgrounds.

The first runner to join Ramaala was Peter ‘Mawethu’ Huwele, who became a 2h15 international runner.

Later runners like Max Shabalala, Isaac Masilela, Samson Mashiloane, Sibusiso Ziba, ‘Tolly’, Steven Dikobo, Ephraim Mokgothu, Simon Maisela, Victor Buso, Sam Mlangeni, Mpuru Rampuru, Sylvestor Moleko, Joseph Marman, ‘Section’, Mathew Amoils, Stephan Cronje, Zongamele Dyubeni, Nkululeko Zamisa, Craig Cynkin, Odwa Tunyiswa, Derocius Makhubane, Raphael Segodi, ‘One and Only’ and Rodica Moroianu joined.

In 2015 Ramaala founded the Hendrick Ramaala Sports Foundation in order to professionalise the group. The plan was to invite, house and coach athletes to become the next generation of champions.

Runners who were invited were Sibusiso Nzima, Folavio Sehohle, Lungile Gongqa, Michael Mazibuko, Desmond Mokgobu, Xolisa Tyali, Lebo Phalula, Lebogang Phalula, Tumisang Monnatlala, Precious Mashele, Phasha Magagane,  Gladwin Mzazi and Rhutendo Nyahora.

Development runners like Maxime Chaumeton, Jacob Malefo, Katlego Monageng and Ntsindiso Mphakathi were also invited.

Ultra-Marathon runners like Pro Mhogo, Motsamai Lucas Rantho and Wits Maths Professor Jesse also joined.

The group has done well so far. Gongqa and Mazibuko were 2nd and 3rd at the 2015 Cape Town Marathon. Sehohle won the 1500m at the SA Champs in 2016. Nzima, Gongqa, Lebo Phalula and Nyahora went to the 2016 Rio Olympics; while Mokgobu ran a 2h10 in the 2017 Rotterdam Marathon and also achieved a ‘Gold Label Status’ at the 2017 World Championships in London. Lebogang Phalula came 3rd in Cape Town Marathon in 2016. Mashele made the SA Cross Country team to Kampala in 2017. Segodi won the 2017 JZ Zuma Marathon, while Gongqa won the 2017 Two Oceans Marathon.

The group is expected to perform even better in the future.