The mountain biking event forms part of the greater Mandela Day Marathon sporting festival, which takes place from 27-28 July. The start and finish of the mountain bike event is at the iconic Nelson Mandela Capture Site in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, which has become a popular tourist destination since the erection of the famous steel-column sculpture in 2012, made famous by artist Marco Cianfanelli. 42-kilometre, 21-kilometre and 10-kilometre routes are on offer in the scenic Midlands.

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The Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash takes place in the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Saturday 27 August 2016. Photo: Mylene Paynter

The Mayor of uMgungundlovu District, Yusuf Bhamjee, said in his speech at the Mandela Day Marathon Media Launch that the theme for this year’s event is: “It is always impossible until it is done, the triumph of the human spirit”, which is the epitome of Nelson Mandela, who was a universal icon of freedom.

“We reach out to the people who want to associate themselves with the memory and the legacy of the Father of the Nation; this contextualises the importance of the Mandela Day Marathon Sports Festival,” said Councillor Bhamjee.

“Madiba belongs to all of us as the Father of the Nation. We must never allow generations after us to forget who Madiba was. Participants will be running, cycling and living for Madiba so that his legacy lives on. We are celebrating an international icon who has been embraced nationally and internationally because he had a story to tell, and that story is the “triumph of the human spirit”.”

President of KZN Cycling, Greg Stedman, embraced the opportunity to once again see the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash on the Mandela Day Marathon sporting festival’s calendar for the third consecutive year.

“We are very privileged to be a part of this sports event,” he said. “Over the past three years, the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash has grown from strength to strength and has become a “must do” event on the KZN Cycling Calendar,” he added.

Stedman also spoke about KZN Cycling’s dedication to transformation and development, and listed their involvement with various projects around the province. “These projects introduce the youth to the sport of cycling, as well as create opportunities for up and coming talent to compete at Provincial and National level,” he added.

The 2015 Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash gave more than 150 local youth the opportunity to learn to ride and participate in the event. “This year will follow a similar theme involving the local youth,” he said.

Stedman also mentioned that most of the country’s top-end Elite and high-performance athletes would have returned from their racing commitments in Europe by the end of August and would have the opportunity to participate. “These athletes attract a lot of media attendance, and make for great racing across their various categories,” he added.

“Whether you are competing for the win or for personal achievement goals, this event embodies the essence of Nelson Mandela, and provides the platform to embrace the Triumph of the Human Spirit,” he concluded.

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