Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash a race of great significance

24 July 2015 – The 2015 Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash takes place in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Saturday 29 August, with the start and finish situated at the iconic Nelson Mandela Capture Site, which has become a popular tourist destination since the erection of the famous steel-column sculpture in 2012, made famous by artist Marco Cianfanelli.

The 50 linear vertical steel columns commemorated the 50-year anniversary since our late former president’s capture in August 1962. Each element of the sculpture plays an integral role in telling the story of Nelson Mandela’s struggle, his vision, and his many ideas, which as a whole had the power to bring about democracy and political change for our nation. The pathway on which people walk to view the statue depicts the “long walk to freedom”, and visitors to the site can see a two-dimensional image of Madiba’s portrait from 30m away.

Riders competing in the MTB Dash, like in many other mountain bike races, will face challenges, hills and obstacles along the way. However, the tough parts of the race that will be tackled will be in remembrance of the trials and tribulations, which Madiba had to overcome in order to change our lives for the better.

The individual elements of the Mandela capture site sculpture, which all come together to symbolise one meaning, will be reflected in the efforts of each individual taking part in the race thus unifying all competitors in this exquisite and historic part of the country.

Although aimed at the regular rider, there are enough sections for families and first-timers to enjoy, as well as it being challenging enough for those at the top-end of the sport, thanks to the input from KwaZulu-Natal local and 2016 Rio Olympic MTB course designer, Nick Floros.

The revamped route incorporates the grasslands sections of the inaugural 2014 route, with the new inclusion of the Sappi forests and the popular Howick mountain bike trails. The 42km, 21km and 10km routes offer something for everyone with varied abilities, with enough punch to give the pros a reason to give all they have in contesting for a share of one of the largest overall race prize purse being R120000.

Floros says that big hills will remain and are a vital part of the route in order for the vantage points and descents to be appreciated as well. One of the most talked about sections is the highest point on the course, which overlooks Howick, Karkloof and Midmar Dam. The beauty of the KZN Midlands will be largely appreciated.

The ever-popular mountain bike trail networks in Howick and the Lions River Valley will be extensively utilised, presenting a sublime taste of mountain biking at its best. A huge thanks is extended to Sappi and to all the landowners on whose properties the race routes will traverse.

Online pre-entries for the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash are open, and close on Wednesday 26 August. Late entries will be accepted at registration, which is at Greg Minnaar Cycles, Town Bush Road, Pietermaritzburg from 12:00-17:00 on 28 August, and at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site from 06:30-08:00 on race day, 29 August.

For information on the 2015 Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash, visit the official website – http://www.mandelamarathon.co.za/

For more information on KZN MTB Commission, visit – http://www.kznmtb.co.za/

For the online event entries, visit the ROAG website – http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1599

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