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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'We took our eyes off the ball' - Mandela Day Marathon postponed

KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) bosses have confirmed the postponement of the Mandela Day Marathon. Although the regional federation had announced in June that the much-loved race would go ahead, a reassessment of the road running in that province has forced the postponement of the 42,2km event. KZNA President Steve Mkasi says the decision to postpone the race was taken after realising that the Mandela Marathon which was scheduled to take place on 27 August, would clash with the KZNA 10km Championships.

"We announced the Mandela Day Marathon 2023 following positive talks and discussions with all relevant stakeholders, and as well as understanding the importance of the Race to our community," explained Mkasi via a media statement released yesterday.

The race flyer for the 2019 Mandela Marathon which was the last time the race was run.

"We however inadvertently 'took our eyes off the ball' because this meant that the Mandela Day Marathon would coincide with KwaZulu-Natal 10km Championships. In November 2022, Athletics South Africa (ASA) passed a rule that there should be no other athletic event held on the same day with Provincial or National Championships or National or International competition. We therefore have no alternative but to postpone the event. We apologise to all our stakeholders, sponsors, and athletics family at large."

This development is but the latest instalment in a series of setbacks that have bedevilled the race which was last run in 2019. Last year #TheTopRunner reported the postponement of the Hilton to Capture Site Half Marathon in August, a race which would have followed a similar route to the Mandela Marathon and also run to honour South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela's capture site in Howick.

KZNA President Steve Mkasi admits that they 'took their eyes off the ball.' Photo Credit: Durban International Marathon.

However, a battle ensued between KZNA and the Umgumgundlovu District Municipality about who had the right to use the Mandela name to organise the race which ended up in the courts. Last year KZNA told the running community that the Hilton to Capture Site Half Marathon had been called off because of traffic concerns. The race did not take place on a date in the second half of 2022.

This time around though, KZNA says they are in discussions about securing an alternative date for the Mandela Day Marathon. "KZNA will meet with all relevant stakeholders concerned and work out the next suitable date for the event."

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