Bay half-marathon offers fast times

File picture
File picture

A number of local road running talents will be aiming to show what they can do in the Nelson Mandela Bay SA Half-Marathon Championships at Pollok Beach on Saturday, July 28.

Local favourites Melikhaya Frans and Ntombesintu Mfunzi will try to put their stamp on the event, which will once again be staged in their own backyard.

“I really want to win this race,” an excited Frans said. “I know the competition will be strong, but I am healthy and my training is going well.”

Meanwhile Mfunzi will be hoping she, too, can improve on her best time, saying: “I am capable of achieving my goal time of 1hr 15mins.” Her current best stands at 1: 16 : 30.

Eastern Province Athletics president Selby Thabethe said this year’s competition would also incorporate the CAA Southern Region Half Marathon Championships.

Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip said that the city was proud to be associated with the event through logistical expertise and support sponsorship. He commended the organisers who had spent many months of planning to ensure this event was successful.

Rolling road closures from as early as 5.30am will ensure a safe run with minimum inconvenience for the public.

The 21.1km road race starts at 7am, with the 5km fun run two hours later.

Vehicles will gain access to the start from 8th Avenue as well as from 4th Avenue into the Bird Rock parking area on the seaside until 6.30am.

Besides the race prize of R80 000 for both winners of the main race, there are prizes worth a total of R850 000 to be won, with the crowd-puller being a Datsun Go.

“Anyone who enters the 21.1km race or 5km fun run will be eligible for the car prize, but you must be there to claim it,” EPA sponsorship liaison Michael Mbambani said.

Race director Alan Taylor said there was a R25 000 incentive bonus for the SA athlete who finished first which would boost the purse to R105 000.

The 21.1km route is credited as the fastest in South Africa.