The successful hosting of the inaugural Nquthu Race
and Fun Run is expected to attract more economic spin-offs for the Umzinyathi
District, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, with plans to grow the race into a fully-fledged
marathon in the near future.
The race, organised by the KwaZulu-Natal Department
of Sport and Recreation, saw thousands of Umzinyathi District residents descend
to the Nquthu Stadium and along the route to cheer on athletes who participated
in the 10 km and 5 km runs as well as the 2 km wheelchair race on Sunday,
The race also incorporated selections for the KZN
Provincial Youth Run which will be held in Durban on the eve of the Comrades
Marathon (03 June). Each district will
send 25 selected athletes, and the rest will join as schools groups.
Addressing the crowd after the race MEC for Arts,
Culture, Sport and Recreation, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, said the intention was to
establish and grow the race into a 21 km half marathon by next year and on the
third year to extend it to a full marathon of 42 km.
“As a Department, we have identified community
engagement as one of the vehicles for social transformation. We want the
community of Nquthu to be active citizens and live a healthy lifestyle by partaking
in sports,” said MEC Sithole-Moloi.
“It is very pleasing to see that this race has
participation from all sectors of the community including the disabled persons.
We have plans to grow this race to an annual marathon which will put Nquthu on
The MEC also emphasized that the growth of this marathon
will have economic spin-offs and also boost tourism for the Nquthu area.
“Nquthu has a great tourism potential due to the historic events that attract
international tourists. This event will enable community development and social
cohesion,” she added.
She also urged the community to be tolerant of each
other ahead of the upcoming bi-elections in the Nquthu Municipality scheduled
to take place on May 24.
The event also gave a platform to the local artists
to showcase their talent.
The winners of the 10 km and wheelchair races won prize
monies, while all the other participants received medals.
The results of the 10 km race are as follows:
Thembelihle Zungu (48:03) R3000
Ntombifikile Mthongo (48:57) R2000
Lindokuhle Gabela (49:50) R1000
Nokukhanya Mtshali (49:51) R 500
Minenhle Mkhize (50:49) R250
Siyabonga Sikhonde (34:32) R3000
Ayanda Ncube (34:51) R2000
Bhekani Sithole (35:18) R1000
Ayanda Ngcobo (35:32) R 500
Basil Mazibuko 35:39) R 250
The wheelchair race winners received R2000, R1500
and R500 prize money, respectively.