Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash of valuable significance to KZN

31 July 2015 – In less than a month, throngs of mountain bikers – along with road runners, trail runners and triathletes – will make their way to the iconic Nelson Mandela Capture Site in the heart of the uMgungundlovu District in a celebration of the life and the work of the late former President Nelson Mandela, for the 2015 Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash on Saturday 29 August.

At the recent media launch, the Mayor of Msunduzi Municipality, Councillor Chris Ndlela, mentioned that the Msunduzi Municipality was already home to iconic events such as the Comrades Marathon, Dusi Canoe Marathon and Midmar Mile, and has become South Africa’s hub of international cycling events like the UCI MTB World Cups and Championships.

“The Mandela Day Marathon is now also growing into a world class iconic festival of events. The Msunduzi Municipality is proud to host these events and our focus in 2015 is to support the Mandela Day Marathon by creating a “first world athlete’s village”, catering for all the needs of the underprivileged athletes wanting to participate in these events.

“These events have the potential to attract up to 30 000 participants in the next five years,” said Councillor Ndlela.

The 2015 events will be taking place under the banner “Keep Running His Legacy” and will encourage more people from all over the world to visit the Msunduzi Municipality and uMgungundlovu District to participate in the Mandela Day Marathon Sports Festival.

The Mayor of uMgungundlovu District Municipality, Councillor Yusuf Bhamjee, presented strategic input and highlighted the importance of this festival to the region.

“The 2015 events will target close to 13000 athletes, inclusive of a 42.2km, 21.1km, 10km, youth run, trail run, mountain bike races and triathlon race.

“The improved MTB races will be held in the forests surrounding the Nelson Mandela Capture Site, with the UCI-standards route incorporating forest trails and many singletrack sections, aimed at creating a world class experience with the finish at the magnificent marathon finish line and Nelson Mandela sculpture.”

Councillor Bhamjee says that the expected number of spectators will be in excess of 30000. At the same time, many will be watching the live coverage of the event on SABC2, followed by Supersport broadcasts.

“The estimated economic impact is R70 million compared to R40 million in 2014, which will benefit the local communities, hospitality and transport industries in the region.”

Cycling KZN President, Greg Stedman, said that the provincial cycling body was proud to be involved, not only as the sanctioning body but also as part of the organisation of such a prestigious event. “All events that are run by CKZN have a strong focus on development, and this event is no different. By developing the young cyclists of KwaZulu-Natal, we believe that this will make a huge impact on increasing our talent pool and discovering our future champions in the province.”

The overall prize purse has also been significantly increased by the race organisers, with a dedicated R120000 to the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash.

The focus on the athlete will be greater this year than ever before, with more facilities being introduced to the athlete with adequate en-route refreshment stations and a greater athlete recovery zone.

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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