Mandela Marathon hosts disabled runners

2016-06-22 06:00
PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile At the launch of the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash (back, from left) John Ntuli, UMgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee, Ndumiso Dontso, and (front) Sandile Luvuno.

PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile At the launch of the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash (back, from left) John Ntuli, UMgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee, Ndumiso Dontso, and (front) Sandile Luvuno.

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SANDILE Ndlovu, a disabled runner from Msunduzi Disabled Athletics Club, says being able to participate in the fifth edition of the Mandela Day Marathon is a huge accomplishment.

Ndlovu said this at the launch of the Mandela Day Marathon Mountain Biking Dash last Wednesday where it was made official that the disabled runner’s race will form part of other sporting activities to take place in the build-up to the main race on 28 August.

“Thank you to uMgungundlovu District and the Nelson Mandela Foundation for making our dreams come true.

“As people with disabilities, we felt left out from the race. For us it was like Tata only fought for able-bodied people and we thought maybe that is why we were excluded from the race to honour his legacy,” he said.

Race organisers have also added two additional prizes to the total prize of R1.3 million that is up for grabs for marathon participants.

These prizes include R40 000 for both male and female disabled runners participating in the flagship 42,2km marathon event.

This prize will be shared accordingly by the first, second and third runner-ups.

Another R20 000 has been allocated towards the development of clubs and will be shared among three clubs with the highest numbers of registered participants.

At the launch uMgungundlovu Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee said as the municipality they decided to reach out to other people who also want to associate themselves with the marathon.

“Madiba was a unifier, which is why we invited other people who want to associate themselves with the memory of the legacy of the father of the nation.

“That is in a way to contextualise how important this Mandela event is. Madiba belongs to all of us and we must never allow generations that come after us to forget who he was,” he said.

“The Nelson Mandela Day Marathon has been marked on the international calendar and will now take place on the last Sunday of every August. This year we envisage more than 10 000 participants.”

In 2012, the marathon attracted about 1 500 participants and saw a 300% increase last year, attracting 5 500 participants.

Race director Johan Van Staden said the race in its fifth year and is the same stature as other major races in the country.

“From an operational point of view we are not introducing any major changes this year - the only difference is we are moving from being a young event. The growth has been phenomenal and we are proud to be associated with the Mandela legacy.

“At the Comrades expo we handed out more than 10 000 entry forms with runners saying they will definitely take part,” said Van Staden.

Runners who participated in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 race will receive an official permanent race number and special medal and trophy to recognise their support for the Mandela legacy.

This year Mandela Marathon events include a Nelson Mandela Day Marathon expo on 25 and 26 June when runners can register.

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