25 August 2013
The Mandela Day Marathon
Ethiopia’s Bekele Eshetu has won the men’s category, while Zimbabwean Chiyedza Chokore has won the women’s category of the annual Mandela Day Marathon. Both are R40 000 richer.
The race started at Manaye Hall in Imbali Township in Pietermaritzburg where former President Nelson Mandela delivered his last speech before his arrest in August 1962.
It ended at the Mandela Capture Site just outside Howick where Madiba was arrested.
Ladies who took part in the 42.2 kilometre race say they did so to honour Nelson Mandela as he fought for the emancipation of women.
Athletes Anathi Xuma and Fennel Augusters competed in the 10-kilometre category.
Xuma says: “We had a lot of support from the fans. They kept on motivating us, giving us water to keep our spirits up.”
“It’s a memorable day; it’s also a day I will never forget. Running for Madiba has its challenges because its takes you back when he was captured and you feel inspired to keep on running even if you feel like giving up,”says Augusters.
Meanwhile, locals have wished Madiba a speedy recovery.
“It’s the first time that we have had such a big event in our area. We hope that people continue to visit this area so that it will develop economically. The race has helped put our area on the world map because it has been neglected for too long,” says one resident.
Another says, “Yes, it’s a very sad time for South Africa at the moment because he means so much to all of us and we’re all hoping and praying that he will get better. However, he is very old now, but his legacy will live on and he has definitely brought the country together.”