The Mandela Day Marathon organisers have confirmed "with deep sadness" that an athlete has died after participating in this year’s marathon. File picture

Pietermaritzburg- The Mandela Day Marathon organisers on Sunday confirmed "with deep sadness" that an athlete has died after participating in this year’s marathon from Imbali in Pietermaritzburg to Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

"The athlete, who participated in the 21km run, passed away a few metres before the finish line," the organisers said in a statement.

The athlete collapsed and was immediately treated by a doctor and a paramedic, and was then taken to hospital where he was later declared to have passed away.

It was the first time that the Mandela Day Marathon experienced such a tragic loss of life in its seven-year history. The organisers were in touch with the family of the deceased.

"Organisers have expressed their heartfelt condolences to the family. The loss of one athlete is mourned by everyone across the running community," the statement said.

African News Agency/ANA