Call to strive for perfection as entries for Madiba race open

2018-05-16 16:00
Mandela Day Marathon record holder Thobani Chagwe (left) and his manager Martin Ngwenya attended the official launch of the race in Howick on Tuesday.

Mandela Day Marathon record holder Thobani Chagwe (left) and his manager Martin Ngwenya attended the official launch of the race in Howick on Tuesday. (Nhlanhla Nkosi)

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KwaZulu-Natal athletes are invited to enter the seventh Nelson Mandela Day Marathon, to be held on August 26, in their numbers.

This year, athletes will be vying for a chance to win the R100 000 prize money in the 42 km marathon from Imbali to Howick.

The race will form part of the Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu centenary celebrations.

Entries officially opened on Tuesday and will close on July 31.

Speaking at the official launch of the marathon in Howick on Teusday, race director Johan van Staden said the focus for 2018 is to strive for perfection.

“We have had our six years of trial and error and we made a couple of mistakes but as of now we have a whole set of committees working to ensure we strive for world class standards in 2018.

“Although we are one of the youngest in South Africa, we are growing and our presentation has improved in 2018. If we look at our statistics, it’s been constant growth from 2012.”

This year entries will be capped at 18 350 for all races.

“We will not allow any athletes over the limit. For the main race a maximum of 3 500 athletes will be allowed to participate, for the 21 km we are looking at 4 500 athletes and for the 10 km race a 5 000 limit.

“We urge athletes to register early to avoid disappointment,” he added.

Van Staden said the starting time will remain 6 am for all the races.

Meanwhile, Mandela Day Marathon record holder Thobani Chagwe will also be taking part this year after missing the race for two years due to injuries.

“I’m well prepared for the race,” said the 29-year-old who won the marathon back in 2014 in what remains the course record time of 2:27:12.

Chagwe said he believes he has what it takes to dip below that time.

“I am looking to do a sub-2:28 and whether I break the record will depend on the pace. But it looks like the record will go because there are guys who run the first half very fast and if I stick with them, I am sure I will be in with a chance.”

The launch was attended by various supporting entities, including the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Yase Godlo, and the president of the KZN Athletics, Sello Mokeona.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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