A brand new half-marathon on the Eastern Province Athletics roadrunning calendar is set to give the sport in Nelson Mandela Bay a timely boost.
To make a contribution to a discipline that took major strain during lockdown, the Madibaz Athletics Club have taken the initiative to introduce the 21.1km event, which will be staged alongside a 10km race.
These, to be staged on July 1, follow shortly on the heels of the highly successful SPAR Women’s Challenge and NMB half-marathon come national championships.
Madibaz Sport athletics manager Bernard Petersen said the new races were part of a strategy to invest in the sport.
Races under the EPA banner are organised by different clubs and, as a member of the provincial body, the university decided to come on board as well.
The idea behind tagging a 10km event onto the half is to encourage students, staff and others to participate.
Besides the province’s leading long-distance runners, a number of Madibaz athletes should be at the pointy end of the field.
Among them is Sakhe Mahote, who is still a junior. He has been a regular podium finisher this season and the expectation is that he will be in the mix during the business end of the race.
Other strong runners from the university are Sicelo Mashaba and Asanda Zamisa.
From the higher echelons of the sport in the region, Petersen expected to see the likes of Melikhaya Frans, Desmond Zibi, Andile Motwana, Caitlyn Wolff and Thabang Mosiako on the start line.
The route, a completely new one, provides a combination of flat stretches and short drags.
The Madibaz Stadium on the South Campus will host the start, from where runners will head to Admiralty Way via Gomery Avenue and University Way.
Participants then head onto Marine Drive to reach the midway point at the entrance to the Noordhoek Ski Boat Club. From there, runners retrace their steps all the way back to the stadium.
There will be road closures from the Pine Lodge entrance on Marine Drive to the Noordhoek entrance from 7am to 11.30am.
Entry forms can be obtained from sport shops in the metro and online at www.webtickets.co.za. These are also available from the athletics office at Mandela University.
Plenty of lucky draw prizes will be offered while the men’s and women’s winners in the feature event will take home R1 500 each.
The first 200 entries in the half will receive a T-shirt and the first 200 in the 10km a buff. The half starts at 7am with the 10km getting underway 15 minutes later.
For enquiries, contact Petersen on 076 402 7317 or Graham Terblanche on 072 650 6551.