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Another setback for Mandela Marathon

By Jerry Barnes

KZNA said the Mandela Day Marathon, which was supposed to take place on August 27, has been postponed, with no new date set yet.

Mandela Day Marathon. Photo: File
Mandela Day Marathon. Photo: File

Runners looking forward to this year’s Mandela Day Marathon were dealt a blow after KZN Athletics (KZNA) postponed the popular race again.

According to a statement issued this week by the provincial athletics governing body, KZNA said the Mandela Day Marathon, which was supposed to take place on August 27, has been postponed, with no new date set yet.

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KZNA public relations officer Mandla Mngomezulu on Thursday told The Witness the the race had to be temporarily cancelled due to the date clashing with another event scheduled to take place in Durban on the same day.

The last Mandela Day Marathon was held in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year’s race was cancelled due to safety reasons, as a result of the N3 construction causing high traffic volumes on the alternate R103, which is also the marathon’s route.

The cancellation of last year’s event came hot on the heels of disagreements between KZNA and uMgungundlovu District Municipality over the organisation of the race, stemming from a conflict between two clubs.

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Mngomezulu assured athletics clubs that this year’s cancellation had nothing to do with “politics behind the event” or any other issues, but purely due to a double event booking.

If you look at your road running block fixtures, on August 27, the KZNA will be also hosting the 21,1 km and 10 km KZNA Championships in Durban. So, the Mandela Day Marathon would have coincided with the Durban event. I can also assure that KZNA and all other stakeholders will be looking at other dates and the race will definitely take place.

In his official statement, KZNA president Steve Mkasi admitted that when choosing the date for the Mandela Day Marathon a few months ago, other events were overlooked.

“KwaZulu-Natal Athletics announced the Mandela Day Marathon 2023 following positive talks and discussions with all relevant stakeholders, [noting] the importance of the race to our community.

“We, however, inadvertently took our eyes off the ball because this meant that the Mandela Day Marathon would coincide with KwaZulu-Natal 10 km Championships.

“In November 2022, Athletics South Africa (ASA) passed a rule that two athletic events cannot be held on the same day as a provincial, national or international competition.

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We therefore have no alternative but to postpone the event. We apologise to all our stakeholders, sponsors, and athletics family at large. KZNA will meet with all relevant stakeholders concerned and work out the next suitable date for the event.