Mandela Day Marathon to include disabled runners

2016-06-15 06:00
PHOTO: Jonathan Burton Disabled athlete, Sandile Luvono, expresses his gratitude for the inclusion of disabled athletes in the Mandela Day Marathon, the first South African marathon to officially include a prize category for disabled athletes. Entries are open for the race which will take place on 27 and 28 August.

PHOTO: Jonathan Burton Disabled athlete, Sandile Luvono, expresses his gratitude for the inclusion of disabled athletes in the Mandela Day Marathon, the first South African marathon to officially include a prize category for disabled athletes. Entries are open for the race which will take place on 27 and 28 August.

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IN an effort to be a fully inclusive race, this year’s Mandela Day Marathon will be open to disabled runners.

“Nelson Mandela was a man of all people so we cannot continue with a race and not be adapting to include and accommodate everyone,” said Lungelo Sithole, communications manager for the Mandela Marathon.

The race weekend now offers a buffet of sporting festivities including mountain biking, triathlon, trail running, and disabled running as well as the usual marathon and half marathon.

Sandile Luvuno from the Msunduzi Disabled Running Club, said that he was thrilled that the marathon was finally including a space for disabled runners and making their “dreams come true.”

“Because as people with disabilities we felt that the Mandela Day Marathon is for the normal people only and we felt isolated from our beloved country of democracy.

“We kept telling ourselves that democracy is not for the disabled people, it’s for the normal only because in our country nobody understands us very well, but today our prayers have been answered and we are going to be a part of the Mandela Day Marathon,” said Luvuno.

He said that the runners are looking forward to flying the flag of disabled runners for all people with disabilities in KwaZulu-Natal.

Race director Johan van Staden said that Luvuno was the man that never gave up.

“He was determined to get the race to be all inclusive. Our wheelchair participation was much smaller before but we have grown it in order to include everyone,” he said. Van Staden added that disabled runners from around the country have also shown interest in the race and will be participating this year.

“It was been confirmed that we are the first race offering category prizes for blind and deaf runners in South Africa,” said van Staden.

District Municipal Mayor councillor Yusuf Bhamjee said that he was proud that the marathon was growing in inclusivity.

“Madiba was a unifier, he preached that South Africa belong to all who live in it. We are proud to announce that we have added another day to the festivities because of the enthusiasm shown from other sporting codes.

“We are known by AIMS [Association of International Marathons and Distance Races] as the fastest growing marathon and we know that together we can grow from strength to strength,” he said.

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