100 days to fifth Mandela Marathon marked
Pietermaritzburg - It is all systems go for the fifth Mandela Day Marathon, hosted by uMgungundlovu District Municipality, together with the provincial government.
Tuesday marked 100 days until the marathon, which is in its fifth year.
It is expected to host up to 15 000 athletes from over 30 countries who will descend on the picture-perfect KZN Midlands to take on one of Africa’s toughest marathons, come August 28.
The theme of this year’s race is: “It always seems impossible… until it’s done” – one of former President Nelson Mandela’s inspirational quotes.
To kick-start the 100 days countdown clock, a liberation heritage route tour was organised on Tuesday, aimed at educating and informing the local community about the district’s rich history.
The tour started at Manyi Hall in Imbali, where the young Mandela made his last speech as a free man on March 26, 1961.
It ended at the Mandela Capture Site, where the former president was arrested on August 5, 1962, after he had he returned to South Africa.
Athletes who have participated in the 42.2km marathon have said that “struggle hill”, roughly 8km, is the toughest point of the marathon.
“The most difficult years of Madiba’s political life are symbolised by this 8km steep stretch,” said Umgungundlovu Municipal Manager, Sbu Khuzwayo.
This year sees the inauguration of the first Mandela Day Marathon Triathlon on August 27, which will start at Midmar Dam with the mini triathlon followed by the sprint distance and then the Olympic distance event.
The flagship 42.2km Mandela Day Marathon takes place on Sunday, August 28.
This marathon is the first official televised Comrades qualifier for the year, and many professional athletes are ready to stamp their mark on the South African road running circuit.
Registration begins on August 25 for all the Durban runners, followed by two days of registration on August 26 and 27, in Pietermaritzburg.
Athletes are urged to enter now at www.mandelamarathon.co.za. Entries close on July 31 and no extensions will be allowed.