A record number of entrants have been attracted to the seventh edition of the event, which is a major part of the Madiba centenary celebrations.
The race is broken down into a full marathon (42km), a half-marathon and a 10km run - thus catering for top athletes through to fun runners, all of whom are set to finish at the spot where Mandela was arrested by apartheid operatives in 1962.
Yesterday, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube announced that the extensive planning for the massive event had “entered the home stretch”.
“This year is Madiba’s centenary year and the race thus assumes that special aura of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run a race of this importance,” the MEC said at a press briefing at the Mandela Capture Site.
“This race will have a unique atmosphere that simply cannot be replicated. That is why we have so many athletes this year, and they and the spectators are sure to make the best of this special race. Even the weather is predicted to clear up.”
The full marathon starts at 6am at the Manaye Hall at Edendale in Pietermaritzburg, with the runners labouring up Struggle Hill to the halfway mark at Hilton and onwards to the Mandela Capture Site. The half marathon starts just past Hilton and the 10km run begins at Howick.
Race director Johan van Staden said: “Preparations are in full swing to deliver a successful marathon in honour of our iconic leader. The Mandela Marathon contributes hugely to the Midlands economy and the entire KZN region due to the ever-increasing number of participants as well as associated events.”