Mega marathon this weekend

2016-02-24 06:00
PHOTO: jonathan burton Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Chris Ndlela pledged his support to The Witness’         Maritzburg City Marathon.

PHOTO: jonathan burton Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Chris Ndlela pledged his support to The Witness’ Maritzburg City Marathon.

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MORE than 5 000 athletes will be out in full force this weekend for the 20th The Witness Maritzburg City Marathon.

Included in the line-up will be athletes from Lesotho, United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Canada, Finland, Germany, Malawi and Zimbabwe, with the majority being South African. According to John Hall, race director, about 3 500 runners come from beyond a 50km radius of the city thus bringing a large amount of foot traffic into Pietermaritzburg over the weekend. The youngest participant is seven years old and will be competing in the mini-trail event. There are three octogenarians participating with one of them running the full 42.2km marathon.

Although many changes have been made to this year’s race, including a slightly different route and finish, Hall said all was on track in terms of preparations. He assured the public of Pietermaritzburg that although there will be road closures, his team will make every effort to minimise the disruption of traffic in the city.

This year the race finishes at the Harry Gwala Stadium and the route takes runners past the revamped promenade and outdoor gym.

“We hope that next year we will be able to end our race in the completed grade one athletics track - the only one of its kind in Africa,” said Hall.

Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Chris Ndlela pledged his support of the marathon and thanked Hall and his team for their hard work and dedication to make the event a success.

“We, as a city, want to promote sports to prolong the lives of our citizens. Sports removes the number of people from the streets and other social ills so we will continue to support and promote sport, and in particular, this marathon.”

Events begin on Friday, 26 February with registrations and a flame-lighting ceremony. Trail races, disabled races and the marafun for children takes place on Saturday and the main races will be on Sunday.

The public is asked to allow an extra few minutes for travelling time, especially on Sunday morning. Traffic officers, marshals and officials will be on the route to assist drivers with minimum inconvenience.

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