EXTENDING MADIBA’S LEGACY IN THE MANDELA MARATHON
By: Lucky Mthembu
Athletes from all corners of South Africa and the world are expected to race again in the legacy marathon – the Mandela Day Marathon.
This was announced at the media launch of the third edition of Mandela Day Marathon by the Kwazulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance and Tradition Affairs (COGTA) Nomusa Dube-Ncube at UMgungundlovu on Thursday.
She further said that the importance of this event will be reflected in total prize money awarded to the winners. The price amounts will in this year’s race grow from R300 000 in 2012 to over R1- million in 2014 making it comparable with other world class events happening in South Africa.
“This in my view, is the spirit of true Madiba’s legacy. The Mandela Marathon will prove not only that Madiba’s legacy lives on but also that we, as its custodians, are taking it further as we embark on the second phase of post-apartheid transformation in which the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality are addressed and ultimately resolved,” said Dube-Ncube.
The Mandela Day Marathon is a secondary of the Association of International Marathons AIM’s and Distance Races. UMgungundlovu District is proud that its city Pietermaritzburg hosts three international races, the Mandela Day Marathon, the Maritzburg City Marathon and the monumental Comrades Marathon. All these three marathons are recognised by this international structure.
“We are pleased to learn that top athletes including the 2014 Comrades Marathon winner, our very own local athletes Bongumusa Mthembu are part of this legacy marathon and will be carrying the flag of Kwazulu-Natal high as brand ambassadors,” said Mayor of UMgungundlovu Municipality Cllr Y. Bhamjee.
According to the race director Johan van Staden, the Mandela Marathon celebrates the triumph of human spirit over adversity. It protects the legacy of our nation’s icon and reminds nation of the struggle fought to give the people of South Africa the freedom experienced on daily basis.
“The marathon over the years, regarded as one of the hardest sporting events, is a fitting tribute to the tenacity required by the athletes to complete the struggle and triumph over their own fears of failure and physical limitations,” Johan said.
With not less than 10 000 athletes including members of the cabinet participating Madiba Day Marathon is expected to be broadcasted live on SABC on the 31 August 2014.