No row over Mandela race, say organisers

The uMgungundlovu District Municipality has emphatically denied that there is a row over the ownership of the Midlands race and says all preparations for the big event are going smoothly.

In a statement issued by the communications department and signed off by Brian Zuma – posted on the race Facebook page – The uMgungundlovu District Municipality said they were the owners and organisers of the Mandela Day Marathon.

“We do not know anything about the Nelson Mandela Legacy Marathon. We are concerned about the misrepresentation of facts that we read in the paper, which is very misleading. Our lawyers will deal with all the facts regarding ownership of the race in court.”

The municipality said it had grown the Mandela Day Marathon brand to a point where this race is considered the fastest growing race in Africa.

National calendar of events

“It is on the national calendar of events as it contributes immensely to tourism and local economic development. We have seen the race grow from a participation of about 1 700 athletes in the first year, to over 15 000 athletes in 2017. This year we are capping at 18 350 runners. This includes the other events that take place the day before the marathon which are mountain biking, triathlon, trail run and the youth race.”

Special occasion

In the centenary year marking Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu’s birth, the council wanted to make this year’s race a very special occasion.

“Special medals are designed to celebrate the centenary. We want to give assurance to the athletes, sponsors and the general public that in the same way that attempts to stop the race have failed before, this misinformation that we read about will not succeed. Preparations are at an advanced level and we are preparing for the best Mandela Day Marathon ever.”