Tour group experience ‘Madiba Magic’

2016-05-25 06:00
PHOTO: jonathan burton Paying tribute to Nelson Mandela at the capture site in Howick is Sibusiso Khuzwayo (uMgungundlovu District Municipality municipal manager), as uMgungundlovu District Municipality mayor councillor Yusuf Bhamjee (left) looks on with Msunduzi Municipality mayor councillor Chris Ndlela (back, right).

PHOTO: jonathan burton Paying tribute to Nelson Mandela at the capture site in Howick is Sibusiso Khuzwayo (uMgungundlovu District Municipality municipal manager), as uMgungundlovu District Municipality mayor councillor Yusuf Bhamjee (left) looks on with Msunduzi Municipality mayor councillor Chris Ndlela (back, right).

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TO get the full experience of the historical Mandela Marathon, media from around the country and members of local and district municipalities toured the 42.2km run.

Race director, Johan van Staden and heritage and content manager, Oscar Dlomo gave a detailed tour of the route, which is filled with historical significance.

Starting at Manaye Hall in Imbali, where Nelson Mandela gave his final speech before being captured, a group of pupils sang the national anthem, followed by a moment of commemoration of Mandela.

Various stops were made along the route, which had historical significance to South Africa and the people who fought for freedom, including visiting the grave of stalwart Moses Mabida.

The most significant part of the race is the eight-kilometre hill, which symbolises the most difficult years of Mandela’s political life, a stretch which has been named “Struggle Hill”.

uMgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee, Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela and the team were given a taste of Struggle Hill, which they had to climb a part of in remembrance of the struggles of old.

The tour ended at the finish of the race - the capture site where Mandela was arrested. Members of the municipalities paid tribute to him and other freedom fighters by placing flowers at the site.

The tour was informative of what runners can expect during the race, but also highlighted the important points along the route that were taken into consideration when the route was established five years ago.

Bhamjee said it was an honour to have the race in the city and that it is something all people in Pietermaritzburg should be proud of.

“Mandela made a powerful statement in this city. This is a historical moment and this race is the living legacy of his life. Not only does the race attract tourists, it’s also important that the community understand and are aware of his story so that his legacy lives on,” he said.

His words were reiterated by Ndlela, who said the bonds of intergovernmental relationships were strong across the various municipalities, and he hoped it would continue to grow from strength to strength.

It is just over 90 days before the fifth Mandela Marathon takes place and thousands of runners descend on the city. This year it is expected the race will have up to 15 000 participants from over 30 countries.

Athletes are urged to enter now at www.mandelamarathon.co.za as the entry system will close on 31 July and no extensions will be allowed.

There are various options in the marathon for those who want to be a part of the experience but cannot manage the over 40km run.

Saturday 27 August

At 6am the trail running events covering distances ranging from the 4km, 8km and 16km.

Mountain bikers will depart at 9am to complete the 10,km 21km or 42km routes.

The first Mandela Day Marathon Triathlon will start at Midmar Dam with the mini- triathlon at 11am followed by the sprint distance at 12pm and then the Olympic distance at 1.30pm.

Sunday 28 August

Road running events all leading to the flagship 42.2km Mandela Day Marathon take place beginning at 6.30am with the 4.6664km VIP race where dignitaries from all over the world will come to experience the “Madiba Magic”.

At the same time the 10km road race will start at the Howick Sports Stadium taking the runners past Midmar Dam on the R103 to the Iconic Capture Site.

The 21.1km half marathon will start at 6.45am in the heart of Hilton meandering down to Cedara and up to Merrivale followed by a steady drop down into Howick Sports Stadium where they will join the 10km route to the finish.

The flagship 42.2km full marathon, measured to IAAF standards, will start at Manaye Hall at 7am with live TV coverage. Top athletes have entered this race and will be competing for the R100 000 first-place prize packet.

This is the first official televised Comrades qualifier for the year and many pro athletes are ready to stamp their mark on the South African road-running calendar.

Spectators are invited to join in and experience the “Madiba Magic”.

The most significant part of the race is the eight-kilometre hill, which symbolises the most difficult years of Mandela’s political life

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