KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo has set his sights on finishing the Comrades Marathon in June, after completing a 21km run to promote a healthy lifestyle among the youth.
Dhlomo, who starts his day with a 90 minute gym workout, said he ran the marathon because he wanted to set a visible example against inactivity for the youth.
"Young people represent the future, they are our leaders who will continue to build and maintain the socio-economic fabric of communities and our nation," Dhlomo said after the race.
"We, the older generation, have a responsibility to inform and to protect them from HIV and other health risks, particularly the risky behaviours leading to ill-health such as alcohol abuse, unsafe sex and early sexual debut, tobacco use, violence, bad eating habits and lack of exercise.
"All these have been shown to negatively affect the health and development of young people, leaving them at a disadvantage for the future."
It took Dhlomo two hours and thirty three minutes to finish the marathon, a 14 minute improvement on his previous best for 21km.
He said he would run a 42km marathon at the end of the month, followed by the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town.
"Thereafter I will participate in the 2011 Comrades Marathon," he said.
"I hope by that time I will have encouraged a sizeable number of fellow parliamentarians and ordinary citizens, especially the youth, to join me in this worthy cause."
(Sapa, February 2011)