With the Mandela Day Marathon having been held during Women’s Month since its inception the participation of female athletes in this fastest-growing race in Africa has always remained integral and this year’s edition is no exception.
With the strength associated with women, one cannot deny the thousands of female athletes who hit the tarmac in various neighbourhoods around the country in pursuit of healthy lifestyles and excellence in exercising.
The number of female athletes who entered this year’s edition of the marathon across all races is 6058.
Fezeka Hadebe from Mbombela in the Mpumulanga Province who will be taking part in the 21.1 KM race, said she enjoys running.
“I am looking forward to running on race day. I have prepared myself with the training, I have done leading up to the race and I am confident that I will complete the distance before the cut-off time,” said the 25-year-old athlete.
Nonhlanhla Zondi from Richmond said she will again hit the tarmac in the 10 KM race this year.
“I ran it for the first time last year and I finished in the time of 1.30.00 minutes. I enjoyed the run last year and I am looking forward to the race this year,” added Zondi who said running helps her maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Another female entrant from Hilton near Pietermaritzburg, Lindiwe “Koko” Maphela will be running the marathon for the fourth time.
“I started with the 10KM race, after that, I ran the half-marathon. In the 2018 edition of the marathon, I ran and completed the 42.2 KM. I enjoyed it and I must admit it was easier than I anticipated,” said Maphela who will be running the coveted 42.2 KM race again this year.
“I enjoy running, I actually love it. Running has made my life better. I am a better human being because of it. The benefits are far-reaching for me than a healthy lifestyle. I am more patient and less stressed. I encourage other people to take up running it will change your lives,” added Maphela.
Thousands of rands are once again up for grabs to the athletes who will cross the finish line ahead of the rest across all the three races, with position one in both men and women in the 42.2 km race expected to walk away with R100 000 each, with runners up expected to pocket R50 000 while the third-placed man and woman will each receive R25 000.
There are also prize monies to be won in both the 21 and 10 km races. The first male and female to complete 21 km will receive R20 000 while the winners of the 10km race will each take home R10 000. The runners up on the half marathon will pocket R15 000 and the third position has a purse of R12 000. Runners up in the 10 km race will receive R8000 while third place has a prize money of R6000.