WITH only a few hours to go until the fifth Nelson Mandela Day Marathon, Pietermaritzburg athlete Nontuthuko Mashimane (34) has pronounced her readiness to join hundreds of runners taking part in this prestigious race that has grown in leaps and bounds.
The 42km race run between Imbali and Howick will be taking place on 28 August. The race starts at the Manaye Hall where Mandela delivered his last speech on 26 March, 1961 before his arrest near Howick the following year on 5 August.
Mashimane said taking part in this marathon is one way of keeping Mandela’s legacy alive.
“It’s about remembering the struggles Mandela went through for the country to be liberated and we celebrate that with sport which he believed unifies us as people.”
In preparation for the race Mashimane has focused strength training.
“A lot of my training has been on strength to make my body strong and also my eating plan has been a priority. I believe you are what you eat and that nutrition is a crucial part of my preparations.”
Mashimane, a nutrition consultant, said running is part of her health and fitness journey and she uses it to empower women to take care of their health.
“I try to empower people with knowledge about the importance of eating well and exercising.
“I also encourage women to take part in running by starting with the 10km races and building up to half marathons to one day running full marathons.
“There wonderful marathons to take part in - Mandela Marathon, Two Oceans and the ultimate human race, the Comrades Marathon. Everybody can one day take part in the greatest marathon in the world which is right here in Pietermaritzburg, but it all starts with taking care of your body and building it up slowly until its strong enough to run this wonderful endurance race,” she said.
Running her third Comrades next year, she said she will be using the Nelson Mandela Day Marathon to prepare for the Soweto Marathon in November.
The Community Chest ambassador will be running the Mandela Marathon trail run on Sunday and then the half marathon.
“The Nelson Mandela weekend has so much to offer. Taking part in many events as possible is awesome and gives the body tastes of endurance and fitness.”
Last year Matela Makhetha from Lesotho and Selam Abere Aebachew from Ethopia won the Mandela Marathon in the men’s and women’s race, respectively.
Makhetha time was 2:28:17, and Aebachew’s time was 2:52:28.