Inspirational runners at 21.1km Champs this Saturday

2019-07-24 06:01
Xolani Luvuno and Chris Mabengeza, the ambassadors for this year’s NMB ASA Half Marathon Championships, will both participate in the race, on Saturday.photo:TANYA ZWIEGELAAR PHOTOGRAPHY

Xolani Luvuno and Chris Mabengeza, the ambassadors for this year’s NMB ASA Half Marathon Championships, will both participate in the race, on Saturday.photo:TANYA ZWIEGELAAR PHOTOGRAPHY

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XOLANI Luvuno, who has been recognised by News24 as one of South Africa’s 100 Young Mandelas, mainly because of the fact that he completed the 2018 Comrades on crutches, will be participating in the Nelson Mandela Bay ASA Half Marathon Championships on Saturday.

Luvuno grew up in the Eastern Cape and endured many challenges: he had no parents, dropped out of school, became addicted to drugs, went to jail, and then suffered from bone cancer which resulted in a leg amputation.

Finally, while living as a beggar on the streets of Pretoria, he was given a chance by a random stranger. Luvuno is now a motivational speaker at schools and businesses and encourages people to set meaningful goals and live disciplined lives.

He will be joined by another Eastern Cape inspiration, well-known top local runner, Chris Mabengeza, who was severely injured on Uitenhage Road while training for his 16th Comrades Marathon.

Mabengeza completed the 5km fun run on crutches last year, with the support of his running friends and now, completely recovered, will be participating in the half marathon.

“The NMB ASA 21.1km Championships allow locals the opportunity to race against the best in the country and therefore develop running in the region,” said Michael Mbambani, EPA sponsorship liaison and coach of Ikhamva Club.

The event will host a 5km fun run, in addition to the popular half marathon, and all clubs and school athletic teams are encouraged to enter.

The Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa 21.1km Championships have incentivised school involvement again this year with a generous sports equipment voucher to the value of R30 000 for the top three schools with the most bulk entries for the 5km run.

The top three schools will receive R15 000, R10 000 and R5 000 respectively.

The cherry on the top for all participants in both the half marathon and 5km fun run is that one of them will drive away in brand new Datsun Go, sponsored by the race’s prize partner, Eastern Cape Motor Group, suppliers of Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Nissan, Datsun, Volvo and Mazda through seven dealerships and seven vehicle franchises in the city.

“The car is the highlight of our lucky draw competition, which means you don’t have to win one of the races to win the car,” Mbambani said.

The official attendance-only prize-giving ceremony will take place at 10:30 at Pollok Beach race village, Summerstrand.

All finishers of both 21.1km and 5km will receive medals.

The half marathon starts at 07:00 and the 5km fun run at 09:00.

The 21km route, credited as the fastest in South Africa, will start and end at Pollok Beach, Summerstrand.

Runners competing in the 21.1km race will need to complete two fast laps, along the spectator-friendly beach front. Starting from Marine Drive, at Pollok Beach, they will head towards Kings Beach then turn and run through NMU, down Admiralty Drive and head back to Kings Beach for the second loop before the finish, back at Pollok Beach.

A full rolling road closures from 05:30 will ensure a safe run and minimum inconvenience for the public.

Vehicles will gain access to the start from Eighth Avenue, as well as from Second Avenue into the parking area on the sea side until 06:30 on race day. Parking is available on the sea side of Marine Drive, in the Something Good parking lot and on the grass area opposite Eighth Avenue. Vehicles parked on the sea side of Marine Drive will not be able to exit before 10:30, 21.1km race cut-off time.

Registration and manual entries will take place at the Summerstrand Surf Lifesaving Club, Pollok Beach, from 12:00 to 21:00 on Friday, July 26 only.

Race numbers can be collected from 05:30 on Saturday morning of the race but no late entries will be accepted for the 21.1km.

Late entries for 5km will be accepted on Saturday morning up until 09:00.

For more info, contact Mike Mbambani on 079 149 6796 or Basil Mclean on 082 467 1949.

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