Pretoria – The annual Mandela Day Marathon, which will take place on Sunday, has surpassed all expectations by registering over 10 000 athletes.
The marathon, the first after Madiba’s passing, will also be an occasion to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of President Mandela’s capture. The marathon will take place in Durban and will be broadcast live on SABC 2.
The race, which first took place three years ago with just about 1 000 local competitors, now has a total of 10 063 participants.
This year’s Mandela Day Marathon activities include three events – the half marathon on Sunday and the Mountain Biking and Trail running events taking place on Saturday.
There are 76 entries for the 15km trail run, 1 816 for the 21km half marathon, 2814 for the 10km road race, 2487 for the 42.2km, 700 for the mountain biking event, 1 320 for the children’s race, 250 for the social development ladies event and 600 for the 4.6664 km VIP race.
The prize money has been increased from R494 600 in 2013 to a total of R995 600 this year. The monetary cash will be paid out to the winners of all categories in the various races over the two-day period.
Registration for the first time athletes will be done at two venues for the convenience of the runners. The first registration venue being the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban where 25% of the runners will register and the balance of 75% will register at the Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg.
A total of 23 countries will be represented at this year’s event compared to 13 in 2013, but the host country is leading with 7 048 participants, followed by Zimbabwe with 44, Lesotho 26, Kenya 18 and
Other countries which will be represented at this year’s race include France, Netherlands, Germany, China, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, United States of America, Britain and Denmark to mention but a few.
Athlete recovery area
This year’s marathon will introduce an athlete recovery area where all finishers will receive a post-event meal, energy drinks and various products sponsored to sustain the athletes.
The organisers will also supply a full physiotherapy service and medical facilities to treat all athletes in need of physiotherapy or medical attention.
Parking arrangements, logistics
All runners are encouraged to use a designated driver to drop them at the various drop-and-go areas at the start of each race.
Drivers must then proceed to the finish venue for parking. All roads to the finish venue will be closed at 6:15am and spectators will be forced to use the alternative route via the Curries Post Road to the parking area.
Parking will be provided at Harry Gwala Stadium, Pietermaritzburg and the Howick Sports Grounds. Shuttle services will be available to commute runners from the Harry Gwala stadium parking area to all official start venues. The shuttle service will be available from 4:30am and the last bus will leave at 5:45am.
Transport back to the parking areas will commence at 10am until all runners have been returned to their vehicles.
Organisers said there will be tight security and all the security agencies are ready to deal with any potential threat to the race.
The proceeds of the Mandela Day Marathon will be given to charity as part of Madiba’s teachings.