What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela has been the foundation on which a New South Africa has been formed and the basis for much of the sporting success we have experienced. It is that fabled Madiba Magic that has seen countless South Africans emerge victorious on the global stage and it is in road running that many have found their inspiration.
Last year saw the inaugural staging of the Mandela Marathon, 50 years after Madiba was arrested outside Howick. The marathon reflects, in a symbolic way, the gruelling marathon that Nelson Mandela had to run to lay the foundation for the democratic and free South Africa that we currently enjoy. This race is a way for us to rekindle our special relationship with the great Nelson Mandela and say ‘thank you’ for the life of Nelson Mandela which symbolises the triumph of the human spirit.
The race begins at Manaye Hall, the venue of Tata’s iconic speech for the All-in-Africa Conference back in 1961, before being arrested. And like Mandela’s life was a marathon of humility, discipline and the human spirit, this marathon is there to evoke the same in all participants. It also will serve as an opportunity to develop the local runners in South Africa to possibly see more South Africans joining the likes of Claude Moshiywa in winning the Comrades.
Of course there is not only the marathon for the extremely fit, the team at the Mandela Marathon have incorporated a 10km fun run for all of those who want to partake in the spirit and have fitness as an excuse. It will be a fitting way for many to celebrate the life, the impact and the human spirit of Mr. Mandela. It will be a celebration.