HOWICK — The top male and female athletes at the Mandela Day Marathon on August 25th in Pietermaritzburg will have riches to go with the prestige of winning the 42,2km road race run in honour of the Father of the Nation.
The full standard-distance marathon takes place from the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg at Manaye Hall in iMbali — where Nelson Mandela made his last public speech on 25 March 1961 at the All-in-Africa conference — and finishes just outside Howick at the Capture Site, where he was arrested in 1962.
The marathon takes place in conjunction with a 21,1km half marathon and 10km race. The half marathon starts at Hillary Road in Hilton and runners in the 10km event start their journey at the Howick Sports Fields. Both these events also finish at the Mandela Capture Site. All three events start at 6am.
The Mandela Day Marathon was started in 2012 to honour the life and times of President Nelson Mandela. This year the three road runs are part of a weekend of events that include a trail run, mountain biking, a fun run and a triathlon. This jamboree of participation sports is centred around the world-famous Mandela Capture Site has established itself as one of the top sporting events in KZN.
The race winners in both the male and female categories for the 42,2km marathons stand to earn a healthy payday of R100 000 for winning the event. This can be significantly increased with a R50 000 bonus for a race record and a further R33 000 for winning all three hot-spot prizes, while the top South African and KwaZulu-Natal residents can add R10 000 and R5 000 respectively to their prizemoney.
If a race winner breaks the record, wins all three hot spots, and is a KZN resident, he or she will walk away with a total of R198 000.
Thobani Chagwe holds the record time of 2:27:12 (set in 2014) for the male race and Irvette Van Zyl holds the record time of 2:47:15 (2014) for the female race. At first glance the race record bonuses look achievable, but the Mandela Day Marathon route is not a fast, flat course and it suits the stronger runners who can handle some severe elevation changes.
In 2018 there were 16 000 entries in the three road running events with Sintayehu Yinesu winning the men’s race in a time of 2:28:05 while Loice Jebet won the women’s title with a time of 2:50:00.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation is the official charity of the Mandela Day Marathon. According to their website, the Foundation “focuses its work on contributing to the making of just societies by mobilising the legacy of Nelson Mandela, providing public access to information on his life and times, and convening dialogue on critical social issues. The key objective is finding sustainable solutions to the problems confronting humanity.”
Brian Zuma, the Manager: Marketing and Communications for the uMgungundlovu District Municipality, said the city which started the Marathon and owns it, is a perfect venue for a road race to honour Mandela.
“At the uMgungundlovu District Municipality we are honoured to be able to give road runners their annual opportunity to celebrate the life of the Father of the Nation, Nelson Mandela.
“The Mandela Day Marathon has been running since 2012 and the route is such an appropriate way to honour one of South Africa’s international icons. It starts at the venue where he gave his last public speech and ends at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site.”
Official online entries for all the road running events close on Friday, July 19th, the day after Mandela Day. For more information, to download manual entry forms and for links to online entries go to www.mandeladm.org.za.