Hilton to Capture Site 21km postponed but battle over Mandela Marathon continues to court in Sept
Although KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA ) announced on Thursday via a media statement that they have opted to postpone the new race, Hilton to Capture Site Half Marathon to prioritize the safety of the athletes, it seems the battle for ownership of this race is far from over. The race which was scheduled to take place yesterday, would have followed a similar route to the Mandela Marathon, which is where the fight began between race organisers and the provincial federation over who are the real owners of the much-loved race.
Formerly a 42,2km race from Pietermaritzburg to former President Nelson Mandela's capture site in Howick, the race had been organised by the Umgumgundlovu District Municipality and sanctioned by KZNA. But after trying to organize the race on their own the municipality took the federation to court and won the case forcing KZNA to rename the half marathon. KZNA President Steve Mkasi says they postponed the race because of traffic concerns and nothing else.
“We have received advice from the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) that due to the high number of accidents taking place on the N3, the R103 is the only breather line, making it unviable for road closure this weekend. In line with runner safety, we have therefore decided to not risk having our athletes running on a road that is not officially closed. KZNA has therefore taken the decision to postpone the race until the situation improves,” he explained.
Despite this postponement, the battle of the Mandela Marathon is far from over as KZNA Deputy President Mandla Mngomezulu said there is a court hearing set for September to hand down judgment on which is the relevant party to use Mandela's name to stage the event.
"As KZNA, we were granted permission to use Mandela's name by Mandela Foundation in the meeting we had with them in Johannesburg earlier this year. The decision that was handed in court was just interim but the real judgment is still waiting in September. I think it better for people who live and breath sports to stage the events. They understand the struggle of the athletes better but the municipality's focus shall to provide service delivery to ordinary people. As the federation, we have powers to organize races," he said.