Johannesburg - Runners throughout South Africa have been thrown a mighty challenge by organisers of the Mandela Day Marathon.
The race has its inaugural running on Sunday August 26, but is set to become a premium event on the national and international calender.
The race, which has the approval of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Mandela family, commemorates key parts of the former president's life.
The race will commence directly outside Manaye Hall in Edendale where on March 25, 1961 Mandela gave his last speech prior to being captured on the road to Tweedie in August 1962.
Marathoners will then "struggle" up a steep 540m climb in the first 15km and onto the halfway point near Hilton before the less challenging second half, which will take them through Cedara, Merrivale and into Howick to pass the Anglo-Boer war memorial.
An associated 10km event will commence from this point and both races will continue out to pass Midmar Dam and onto the new capture site museum in Tweedie.
With R253 000 allocated to prize money and a R30 000 first place purse, the race is sure to draw top runners from neighbouring countries.
However, this is not a race about fast times, but about recognising and commemorating and gaining insight of the challenges and struggle that Madiba took on in the fight for freedom.
"Through this marathon, we want to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit, the discipline that meant spending 27 years in prison, because of an understanding of what he wanted to accomplish in the end" said uMgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor Yusuf Bamjee."
Entries for the race, which in the first year are expected to be limited, will open on Mandela's 94th Birthday, July 18, and close on August 14.