The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) Sports and Recreation Portfolio Chairperson, Cllr Nomamerika Soul, has called on the community of the city to embrace and participate in the Nelson Mandela Bay Freedom Run to be held on April 26, 2014.
Cllr Soul was speaking to the media and sponsors at the official media launch of the run in City Hall on Thursday, March 13, 2014.
The 10 km race used to be called the Motherwell Freedom Run. After interactions with the NMBM and the organisers, an agreement was reached to change the name to the Nelson Mandela Bay Freedom Run. This event is co-sponsored by the NMBM and Maqadi Ayanda Transport. The change of name is in honour of the memory of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela and in recognition of his fight for freedom and human rights. This year’s run is also a special one, as it coincides with South Africa’s 20 years of Freedom celebrations. The race is the only road race in the Eastern Cape Province Athletics calender to take place in one of the Nelson Mandela Bay’s townships.
In 2013, the event was given Participation and Prestige League status by the Athletics Federation, attracting a number of national athletes.
This year’s race has also partnered with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Wellness Centre, which promotes the health and wellbeing of municipal employees. The involvement of the NMB Wellness Centre is an initiative by the municipality to not only co-sponsor the event, but also encourage municipal employees to actively participate in the race. “We are excited to be part of an initiative that is in the heart of a township. It will not only be a platform to encourage youth to be involved in sport, it will also encourage wellness and fitness within the community that will translate to a healthy society,” said Councillor Soul.
She said events like the Nelson Mandela Bay Freedom run are made possible only when government works closely with the private sector. “We do not want this race to be just another race in the calender. We want to take it to another level. Within a few years, it must be an internationally recognised race that attracts the best runners all over the world,” she said.
She called on the community and the municipal employees and their families to participate. “This is your race, in your township named after the one of the outstanding leaders, freedom fighters and statesmen the world has ever seen. In honour of this great man, let u go out there and be part of this historic event,” urged Cllr Soul.
Event organiser, Michael Mbambani, stated that the excitement for the race has started to build up. “I am confident that the race is getting bigger and better. This one will break records in terms of participation and the finish time for athletes. I am humbled to be at the centre of organising an event that contributes immensely to the wellbeing of our people and the economic development in the area of Motherwell,” said Mbambani.
Mbambani thanked the NMBM and other sponsors for supporting the event financially and logistically. “If it was not for these entities who have also dedicated their staff members to making sure that the race is a success, we would not have been here today. Together we can really create better opportunities,’ he added.
- 2011 – Male winner – George Ntshiliza (Local), Female Winner – Ntombesintu Mfunzi (Local)
- 2012 – Male Winner – Lungisa Mdedelwa (Nedbank Gauteng) followed closely by (Western Province) based Lindikhaya Mthangayi, Female Winner Bulelwa Simae (Western Province)
- 2013 – Male Winner Lungile Gongqa from (Transkei Athletics), Female Winner – Zintle Xiniwe Western Province
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