“Well I’ve done the race for two years now. The first year that I did it I was under 16, and I came second in that race, which was really nice,” he said.

ccs-62657-0-10989100-1469789329.jpgMichalehouse pupil, Kelvin Green anticipates the excitement at the 2016 edition of the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash, which takes place at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site (R103) KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday 27 August 2016. Photo: Free State Cyclists Hub
Green (Hattons Cycles) was chuffed at the route change last year. “They added a section of single track on top of Piggly Wiggly on the hill there, which was lots of fun,” he said.

Hoping to do well last year, Green would have like to have claimed the first prize. “I think we all do, but Josh is a really good rider and unfortunately I didn’t have the legs on him that day,” he added. He also mentioned that the KwaZulu-Natal MTB racing scene is a competitive one.

The Michaelhouse matric pupil has also taken part in the Dusi Canoe Marathon for three consecutive years. “It’s at the beginning of the year so it’s really good base training – it sets the tone for the season,” he added. Green has also finished in the top 100 finishers each year that he has competed.

He lives on a farm in the Drakensberg and has known mountain bike riding ever since he was a child. “My parents wouldn’t let me stay inside, so I had to make do with the great outdoors,” he laughed. “My uncle is also in charge of the Berg n Bush. Seeing people riding through the farm made me want to ride more and I’ve been lucky enough to do that event twice, which is really cool,” he added.

Although focusing predominantly on marathon racing because he enjoys to “suffer long climbs”, Green has also dabbled in cross-country racing, but his season was cut short due to a lung infection. “I’m not too sure where that puts me in terms of training for the race,” he said.

On the essence of Madiba captured through the iconic sporting event, Green said: “We all get a great feeling from exercise. Madiba once said: “I have always believed that exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind”. He wanted us to make the most of our freedom and come together as a nation. The race really promotes that. It’s a huge event, which caters for everyone and that is really nice.

“As young riders, we are laying the foundation for future generations. Cycling in South Africa is not where it is in Europe, even running as well, and an event like this just promotes that so much more. South Africa has had really hard times. I think a great place to start is obviously education, but exercise is just as important, so promoting the benefits of it is also so great. To be honest I think that’s what he would’ve wanted, we see that with how he drove to become a part of the Rugby World Cup in 1995.”

The start and finish of the mountain bike race takes place at the famous Nelson Mandela Capture Site, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands (near Midmar Dam). Not only will the essence of Madiba draw the crowds, but also a lucrative prize purse, which will be an added bonus to the already incredible event.

Online pre-entries for the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash are open, and close on Wednesday 24 August. Late entries will be accepted at registration, which is at Olympia Hall, Royal Showgrounds, Pietermaritzburg from 11:00-17:00 on Friday 26 August, and at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site from 06:00-07:30 on race day, Saturday 27 August.

For information on the 2016 Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash, visit the official website – http://www.mandelamarathon.co.za/

For more information on KZN MTB Commission, visit – http://www.kznmtb.co.za/

For the online event entries, visit the ROAG website – http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1735