Mandela race is ready to roll

2013-08-06 00:00

THE organisers of the Mandela Day Marathon in three weeks were yesterday confident that they are 100% ready to host the race.

This was announced yesterday by Department of Co-operative Governance (Cogta) head Nonhlanhla Qobosheane, as her department, along with the ­uMgungundlovu District Municipality and uMngeni Municipality, commemorated the 51st anniversary of the capture of Nelson Mandela.

The briefing, held at the capture site outside Howick, also marked 20 days until the race.

Qobosheane said: “The journey, from start to finish, is packed with history, as the runners make their way.”

She said this was to remind those who were taking part in the race “where we came from”.

She referenced Mandela’s famous speech at the conclusion of the Rivonia trial and said the “ideal of a democratic and equal society is very much alive”.

According to uMgungundlovu District Municipality mayor Yusuff Bhamjee, more than 5 000 people will participate on the day. There will be 1 977 people running the 42,2 km marathon, 1 510 taking part in the 10 km race, 900 children and 300 VIPs for the 4,6664 km race, eight participants in wheelchairs and 100 cyclists.

Bhamjee said the race would have 80 runners from countries including Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Kenya, Swaziland, Mozambique, Nigeria, United States, Brazil, Ethiopia, Malawi, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany.

He spoke about the day Mandela was captured in August of 1962 and said it should be commemorated on an annual basis.

“We must remember this day, because we do not wish to go back there,” he said.

Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, who was acting as the programme director, also addressed concerns that the race was under threat. He said all of the issues with the Hammarsdale and Greater Edendale athletic clubs had been resolved and that all the clubs were happy.

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