Honouring the life and times of South Africa’s national father, former President Nelson Mandela, the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash and Mandela Day Trail Run was an inspirational occasion for the emerging, young stars that were eager to perform well.

“The Mandela Day races really excited our Zulus as it is an event that has true meaning for them!” says Change a Life founder, Dreyer.

“All of them felt as if they were racing for Madiba, which was a privilege and an honour.”

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RMB Change a Life Academy's Mboneni Ngcobo beams from ear to ear after winning the 21km race of the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash and looks forward to proudly displaying his trophy that bears Nelson Mandela face in his home. Supplied/ Gameplan Media

On the mountain biking front, Sthembiso Masango showed his RMB Change a Life MTB Academy team mates the way home in the 42km feature race, narrowly missing out on sixth place after a sprint finish with Julian Jessop.

“Sthembiso really rode nicely and it was fantastic to see him in the mix with some of the province’s top guys the whole way,” says Dreyer.

“He’s very focused, trains extremely hard and is riding better than ever at the moment so it was great to see him get such a good result and we look forward to seeing how he and the rest of our MTB team go at Hill2Hill in September.”

Also tackling the 42km MTB race, Ndumiso Dontso pipped team mate Mazwi Smimango to the line – the pair finishing twelfth and thirteenth respectively – while Sipho Kupiso, Bongumusa Zikhali and Sizwe Mkhabise all finished inside the top 30.

In the 21km clash, Mboneni Ngcobo successfully defended his crown while Siyanda Masango and Scelo Mhlongo rounded out the CAL one-two-three.

“Mboneni is currently studying Agricultural Management and Environmental Science through UNISA and recently spent a week up in Pretoria doing his practicals, so it was nice for him to be able to ease back into things a bit through the 21km race.

“He also said afterwards that taking part in and winning this particular race made him proud to be African!”

Like their cycling team mates, the Valley of a Thousand Hills setup’s Merchants supported runners also rose to the occasion with Phaka Gwala, Siyabonga Ngcongo and Thulani Skhakhane finishing inside the 8km race’s top ten,

Mthobisi Mvelo and Mxolisi Zondi claimed the top two steps of the 4km event’s podium while CAL paddling ambassadors, Sbonelo Khwela and Banetse Nkhoesa, finished in thirteenth and fifteenth place respectively in the 15km challenge.

“Since Merchants came onboard, our running team continues to evolve,” explains Dreyer.

“Much of our focus remains on Obstacle Course Racing – particularly the national Jeep Warrior Race series – but trail runs still remain very much part of our plans as well, especially as it helps our guys develop a good base for the Warrior Races.”

SUMMARY OF RESULTS
RMB CHANGE A LIFE MTB ACADEMY – MANDELA DAY MARATHON MTB DASH
42km
7.Sthembiso Masango 1:51.31
12.Ndumiso Dontso 1:56.41
13.Mazwi Smimango 1:56.43
24.Sipho Kupiso 2:02.00
26.Bongumusa Zikhali 2:03.16
29.Sizwe Mkhasibe 2:09.53

21km
1.Mboneni Ngcobo 48.40
2.Siyanda Masango 50.16
3.Scelo Mhlongo 50.33

MERCHANTS CHANGE A LIFE RUNNING TEAM – MANDELA DAY TRAIL RUN
15km
13.Sbonelo Khwela 59.27
15.Banetse Nkhoesa 1:00.39

8km
7.Phaka Gwala 35.54
8.Siyabonga Ngcongo 36.05
9.Thulani Skhakhane 37.12

4km
1.Mthobisi Mzolo 23.17
2.Mxolisi Zondi 23.19