The Mandela Day Marathon, covering 42.2 kilometres from Pietermaritzburg's Imbali township, where Nelson Mandela made his last speech as a free man, to Howick, where he was finally captured, gives South Africans an opportunity to honour the great man's legacy through sport, the organisers said on Wednesday.
"Each marathon has a personality, and ours is unique," uMgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee said at the official launch of the 2014 marathon at the Nelson Mandel Foundation in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
"We have a race dedicated to the father of the nation, and via the AIMS-sanctioned Mandela Day Marathon, a world-class sporting event, we are championing understanding among all South Africans of where we come from and what Mr Mandela stood for."
The marathon takes place on Sunday, 31 August, with supporting events over the weekend including a children's race, a 4.6664km run (commemorating Mandela's prison number, 46664), a 10km road run, a 21.1km road run, and a 21km and 42km mountain bike dash and trail run.
The total prize purse for the marathon is valued at R1.3-million. The overall male and female winners will each receive R50 000, while the first South African and first KwaZulu-Natalian home will also be rewarded.
Twenty percent of all entry fees will accrue to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, to be donated to charities and institutions in KwaZulu-Natal that serve disadvantaged communities.
Bongumusa Mthembu, the 2014 winner of the Comrades Marathon, will join veteran long-distance running stars Bruce Fordyce and Willie Mtolo and a number of radio personalities who have been chosen as ambassadors for the race.
Race director Johan van Staden urged members of the public to enter the event as soon as possible, as entries will be capped at 10 000, and the closing date is 31 July.
"We are thrilled that South Africa's pro running clubs have pledged their top athletes to take part in the marathon," Van Staden added. "We anticipate over 50 pro runners will take part."
For more information, and to enter, visit www.mandelamarathon.com.