Former President Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Chief Mandla Mandela, says his family appreciates the honouring of the late statesman by organising the Mandela Marathon.
The KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala is among the first 2019 marathon runners to make it across the finish line between Pietermaritzburg and Howick.
Over 20 000 runners have been participating in this year’s race.
Initiated in 2012, the marathon consists of 42 kilometre, 21 kilometre and 10 n kilometre races.
The marathon kicked off from Manayi Hall at Imbali township where Mandela made his last public speech on March 25th, 1961. Chief Mandela says paying tribute to Madiba is humbling for his family.
“Seeing South Africans coming together, people from the neighbouring countries in the SADC region as well as Africans in totality coming together in this race is a wonderful honour that has been bestowed on Madiba,” says Mandela.
Ethiopian Muhajr Haredin Sraj won the 2019 Mandela Marathon’s 42 kilometre men’s race in 2h 26mn 18s. He was followed by fellow Ethiopian Wondwosen Ketema Mamo who finished in 2h 27mn 44 s.
Sofiya Shemsu Chegen, also from Ethiopia, won the women’s race in 2h 45mn 21 s. Second place went to South Africa’s Lindokuhle Ntuli, who clocked 2h 49 mn 29 s.
The winner of the 42 kilometre race walked away with R100 000 in each category. The aim of the race is to pay tribute to the late former President Nelson Mandela.
Mandela adds, “Most importantly, it forces us as a family to look on to the countries that Madiba visited in 1962 when he went to mobilise for our struggle for liberation. He travelled on an Ethiopian passport that was issued by Emperor Haile Selassie. Today we bear witness to Ethiopian runners being part of this wonderful race.”