Posted by Ticketstroom – 10 November 2016
Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association Director, Dumisani Mhlongo is the co-founder of the Greater Edendale Race which was first staged 10 years ago. Together with officials from the Msunduzi Municipality and the Comrades Marathon Association, Dumisani Mhlongo’s idea was that The City of Choice needed a township race that would motivate children to partake in community activities and showcase the townships as safe sporting destinations.
Since the idea was implemented in 2007, these innovators have ensured that the annual sporting attraction has become a highly anticipated road-running affair every November, with nearly two thousand participants and hundreds of spectators.
Delaine Cools, who’s is the Comrades Marathon Association media officer had a chat with Dumisani Mhlongo about the Greater Edendale Race.
Q. How did the idea of the Greater Edendale Race come along?
A. When I approached the Comrades Marathon Association asking for a local township race in 2006, I was not aware that one was unleashing the tiger. The Comrades Marathon Association shared the understanding that we needed to create such sporting opportunities for the children there, allay the misconception that townships are unsafe and look at tourism opportunities outside the borders of the city. The inaugural event was hosted less than two years after that, and as they say, the rest is history.
Q. Did you meet the objectives that you had initially set out to achieve?
A. We most definitely did. After hosting the first Greater Edendale Race, we received an unprecedented response. There was a hunger for sporting activities from both adults and children alike. There was an amazing atmosphere that prevailed in Edendale.
Q. How has the race fared so far?
A. Over the years, we have had many highlights and successes to reflect on. Very pleasing for us has been the increasing number of participants, both young and old. With the introduction of the schools challenge, we have been deeply inspired by the ever-growing number of schoolchildren. The event has also given back to the community on an annual basis, putting the children first and honing the skills and talent of the runners in Edendale.
Q. Are we attracting the right calibre of runners?
A. With its 10th anniversary edition taking place this Sunday, we are proud to say that this event has made its mark on the community and attracted some of the country’s top athletes. These veteran runners have showcased this race as a notable platform to inspire our young ones by interacting with them and motivating them to achieve more. It’s very gratifying.
Q. In what way does the race add value to the City and the Province?
A. One cannot speak about the Greater Edendale Race without looking at its economic impact and the way that it drives tourism to this city. It is a known fact that this race has inspired other communities to want to host similar events. People view this event as an example to be followed. One cannot talk about the national agenda of politics, without looking at the contribution of Edendale society and its people. A major part of our heritage is carried through with this race.
Q. Last words…
A. There is no doubt that the legacy of this race will live on for a long time to come. My wish is to see the race participants being accommodated in the community of Edendale. Via our so-called Homestay Programme, branded the Gidla Express, we seek to encourage more visitors to stay and feel at home in the Edendale community. We would like to see many more economic benefits accruing to the community.
Date: Sunday, 13 November 2016
Venue: FNB Wadley Stadium, Georgetown, Edendale, Pietermaritzburg
For More Info, contact: Delaine Cools on 083 949 2837
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