Africa’s best set for Mthatha race
The 18th edition of the elite Heroes Marathon will take place on Sunday
It’s all systems go for the 18th annual Heroes Marathon set to take place in Mthatha on Sunday, the only late change being that the organisers were forced to shift the finishing point to Walter Sisulu University’s Zamukulungisa campus.
The finish line to the prestigious race that for years has been placed at the institution’s main stadium had to be moved to the Atlanta Fields – also on campus – due to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to Mthatha on Sunday.
The 42km section of the race will begin at former president Nelson Mandela’s home in Qunu.
The 21km will start at Vidgesville, and the 10km start at Qweqwe while the 5km fun run will set off at Payne.
The marathon founded by Athletics Transkei has seen more than 500 athletes registering the past week for the much-anticipated running spectacle.
But Athletics Transkei president Lungisile Molwana expects that number to jump to 1,500 when registration closes on Saturday evening. “That number includes all the races and the 5km fun run and we are positive that it will go beyond 1,500,” said Molwana.
“This race has a good reputation in the continent. We have well-decorated runners from as far as Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Gambia and Lesotho.
“And to top that, we have impressive prizes like the cars for the winners of the men’s and women’s races and many more cash prizes. Molwana said all the preparations were “done and dusted” and there was a buzz around town ahead of the race.
“On Friday , we had a meeting on the ground to discuss all the logistics involved and I can confidently say everything is in order,” he said.
“And registration for this international-recognised race will continue until Saturday evening [10pm] at WSU, plus we have made provisions for athletes without accommodation. We have organised accommodation at [Nelson Mandela] Nomoscow Primary School because we have over the years prepared a tent at WSU fields for athletes who don’t have accommodation.
“This race also seeks to honour fallen heroes born in the region and this province as a whole.
“Heroes who hail from this region like tata Nelson Mandela and sportsmen and women as well – all those people who have done wonders. “With this race we appreciate the roles these giants like Walter Sisulu played in the development of this country.
“And to think that we started it with only 20 athletes is really amazing. People should to go to our website [www.heroesmarathon.co.za] to learn more about this race,” said Molwana.