Mandela Marathon draws thousands

Runners just outside Howick completing the Mandela Marathon that took place on Sunday

According to organisers the marathon which is now in its fifth year, drew 15 000 participants, a remarkable improvement from the 10 000 participants recorded in 2015. Athletes participated in 42.2 km, 21 km, 10 km, and 5 km walk all inclusive. Selam Abere Alebachew of Ethiopia won the women’s 42-kilometre with 2H52 while men’s 42 kilometre race was taken by Tsepang Ramonene from Lesotho.

A number of public figures including parliamentarians, Members of KwaZulu-Natal Executive Council(MECs) including MEC Sihle Zikalala, Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo and Nomusa Dube- Ncube were present at the race. ANC Treasurer General Dr. Zweli Mkhize, business figures and celebrities also participated in different categories and expressed a desire to participate next year.

The grandson of former President Mandela – Mandla Mandela – took part in both running and cycling event which took place a day earlier in honour of his late grandfather. “Today went very well. It was a very touching moment for me to be able to participate in the 21-kilometre mountain bike ride. At the same time it was a really challenging course. In his book “The Long Walk to Freedom”, Madiba says once you have climbed to the top of the hill, only then do you realise how many more hills and rivers you have to climb and cross. The Capture Site is a direct depiction of that chapter. Once we got to the top of the first hill only then did I realise how many hills we still had left to climb. I have to applaud all of those who came out today to ride in honour of our Madiba.”

The marathon is unique in that it accommodates different distances and allows disabled athletes to participate in the race.

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