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06 May, 2014

Half Marathon For 20 years of Freedom: The Mandela Day Marathon

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Runners throughout the world have the opportunity to be part, celebrate the life and commemorate the legacy of Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, the father of the nation, and the world icon who led South Africa through its most difficult period in history. Less than a year after the passing of Nelson Mandela and in only its third year, the Mandela Day Marathon is making the event more accessible to a greater diversity of participants.


As a mark of Coming – Of – Age and moving into the 21st year of Freedom, a 21km distance has been included in the day that already offers the Flagship 42km Mandela Day Marathon and a 10km race. The half marathon addition is only the first of a number of innovations planned for the 2014 race.


“It is absolutely appropriate that the full marathon has challenged runners with a tough, unyielding uphill course: that is a fitting reflection on the life of Madiba,” said uMgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee. “However, Madiba’s objective was to provide a country for people of all diversities. The addition of the half marathon will bring not only younger runners, but also open the way for those who perhaps are not yet ready for the full challenge, as well as those who are now older and less able to complete a marathon."


"Commemorating Madiba’s legacy is about sharing the experience and atmosphere, and we want everyone to have the freedom of that opportunity,” continued Bhamjee. “We are finalizing a number of other events and opportunities and we are convinced that over 10,000 people will be participating in the Mandela Day Marathon events this year."


Registration is set for a three day period both in Durban and Pietermaritzburg towards the end of August.


The addition of the half marathon now gives runners the option of three events:


• The “Full Mandela ” 42km,
• The “Half Mandela ” 21km
• And the 10km, while there will be a 4.664km walk and run for invited VIP’s.


The 10km kicks off at 06:30 am and all distances finish at the site where Mandela was captured, located on the Lions River road north of Midmar Dam.


Entries for all three events are available:


• online (www.Mandelamarathon.co.za ),
• by hand delivery to the MANDELA DAY MARATHON Office C10, 242 Langalibalele street Pietermaritzburg,
• by post to: Mandela Day Marathon, PO Box 3235, Pietermaritzburg, 3200.


All entries close on 31 July 2014, and no late entries will be accepted.


Given the challenge of the “Full Mandela” it is only open to registered club runners over the age of 20 years on race day, where as non-licensed runners can enter the 21km and 10km providing they are over 18 and 15 year respectively on race day.


The Full Mandela commences at 07:00 am at the Manaye Hall in Imbali Edendale, where Madiba, then known as the “black pimpernel”, gave his last speech as a free man on 26 March 1961.The 42km runners face the unrelenting and appropriately named 8km Struggle Hill to Sweetwater, before the shorter but steeper Challenge Climb to the highest point in Hilton which signals the drop towards Cedara.


The Half Mandela commences at 06:45 a.m. in the suburbs of Hilton with runners initially benefiting from the drop towards the Midlands Meander, but then facing more than a few undulations prior to running through Howick Stadium, which not only hosts the Anglo-Boer war memorial, but also the start venue for the 10km race.


All runners then enjoy the many scenic views of Midmar Dam, the Dam wall and the rolling foothills with the World famous Drakensburg Mountains as a backdrop, as they run into the Nelson Mandela Capture site.


The event is one of only six South African races registered with AIMS (Association of Marathons and Distances Races) and all distances are IAAF certified.


In the last edition of the Mandela Day Marathon attracted over 5 500 runners nationally and with 13 international countries. This is the first running since the passing of Madiba, and the number is expected to significantly increase.


With a route so full of history and character, runners, walkers and even spectators will find no better way to commemorate and celebrate the life and legacy of the icon.The three uniquely designed Mandela Day Marathon medals will be proudly displayed by all who complete the challenging route. This is one marathon that every runner will want to have completed.