by Vusi Khumalo

A long run to freedom

Historical Mandela Day Marathon lies ahead

Historical Mandela Day Marathon lies ahead
A long run to freedom

Runners in this year's Mandela Day Marathon will get an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the global icon. The 42-km run will start from Manaye Hall in Pietermaritzburg where former President Nelson Mandela delivered his last speech before being captured and end in Howick where security police arrested him in August 1962. 

The marathon, which is in its second year now, will take place on 25 August.  

Organisers of the Mandela Day Marathon have promised that this year's race will be the biggest in the history of marathons. Winners in the male and female categories will each walk away with R40 000.

Race Director, Lesly Moeti, says it's all systems go for the historical event.

“So far the preparations are going well and everything is going smoothly. The LOC has started meetings and we are on track as we speak. We are looking forward and everybody is excited about the event and can’t wait for it to begin and we are all waiting with bated breath at the moment.”

To mark Madiba's career as a political leader, a special category has been created for politicians wishing to take part in the fun this year. Co-operative Governance MEC, Nomusa Dube, says they want the race to become as big as the famous New York Marathon and acquire a status in the Guinness Book of record.

“We are celebrating our social cohesion, our unity and our triumphs and this is the ideal opportunity for us to do so. We will embrace the long walk that our Tata Madiba walked to where we are today. It's part of our contribution and our celebration and what a better time for this to be happening when we (are) celebrating Tata Madiba's birthday during the month of July.”

Veteran athlete, Bruce Fordyce, who has nine Comrades Gold medals under his belt, is the ambassador of the race. He says his experience will come in handy in the race.

Another veteran runner is the 1992 New York Marathon winner, Willie Mtolo, who is currently training along the route as it passes his home.

“We all know that Mandela did a lot for SA and I am so excited to be part of the struggle because it's a struggle marathon and it's a very tough marathon.”

The race is on the 25th of August and the date for registration has been extended to 31 July. Organisers are currently in talks with the SABC on whether the marathon will be broadcast.

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