May 13, 2022  

The Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon is back in full force and will take place at Pollok Beach in Summerstrand on June 4.

EPA is gearing up for the return of the full race, as due to covid limitations, last year only allowed for a maximum of 250 athletes.

Race Director, Michael Mbambani, is thrilled to be hosting the full NMB Half Marathon.

“With the support of our title sponsors, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, we are expecting around 1500 athletes,” Mbambani said.

“We anticipate more than 20 international and foreign athletes to compete in the race from different countries like Lesotho, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Burundi and Ethiopia.

“All relevant Covid-19 regulations for athletes entering the Country applicable at the time of the event, will be adhered to.

“This year spectators will be allowed to watch the race and the event will also be broadcast live on SuperSport.”  

The race, which holds World Athletics Elite Label status, will also serve as the ASA Half Marathon National Championships.

Precious Mashele narrowly beat Stephen Mokoka with an impressive finish last year in 1.01.17 with the foreign contingent ensuring fast times in the women’s contest. Brillan Jepkor Kipkoech of Kenya dominated the women’s battle to win in 1.07.32 with Sisay Alemaddis of Ethiopia in second place in 1.08.04. Glenrose Xaba was the best South African athletes, in fifth position overall, earning the gold medal in 1.09.30.

Gqeberha based top athletes are looking forward to the return of the half-marathon, but said they were even happier to see that the racing calendar was jam-packed for 2022.

Mike Mbambani confirmed that most athletes training at the Ikhamva training camp will be entering, Thabang Masiako (who runs for Boxer), Mariano Eesou (who runs for Nedbank) Luyanda Tshangana, Melikhaya Frans, and Desmond Zibi, 

Melikhanya Frans, who finished 10th in the men’s race in 2019, said he was feeling fit and healthy and was certainly going to try his best at the Half Marathon. The upcoming Run my City 10km in Cape Town this weekend will be a time trial test in preparation for the Half Marathon.

“I feel that I have grown up as an athlete”, said a confident Frans.

Gladwin Mzazi, 33, running for Boxer athletics club, Gauteng, will be competing.

“I am excited about the upcoming competition, especially now that it is a qualifier for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championship, which will be held in the Chinese city of Yangzhou in November. 

My plan is to make the South African team, so if I can finish in the top five, I will be very happy,” said Mzazi.

Popular Nedbank running club athlete, Kelly van Vliet, is training hard for the half marathon and is confident that her preparations are going well.

“I am excited and nervous thinking about the race, but it is such an experience and honour to run and be surrounded with the best of the best athletes.

“My goal is simply to better myself and my personal best time,” added van Vliet.

Nwabisa Mjoli, of Ikhamva athletics club, who has had a strong running season to-date, is comfortable that her preparations are going according to plan.

“My goal is to finish in the top ten and try to qualify for the World Half Marathon Championships.

“I would like to focus on improving my time but will have see how my body feels on the day,” said Mjoli.

At stake is not only the South African title, but also valuable World Athletics Ranking points and a whopping R80 000 for first prize and a total prize pot of R277 500. No wonder South Africa’s best are lining up to race in Gqeberha. 

The race is justifiably credited as the fastest half marathon in the country and with generous prize money one can expect fast times. 

The route is fast and flat and runs on the coastal road. Runners will start from 07.30 and complete a circular route.  Starting from Marine Drive, at Pollock Beach, they will head north to Driftsands junction, then south on Marine drive through NMU, down Admiralty road with the second lap turning at Driftsands junction to return to finish at Pollock Beach.

A full rolling closure from 03h00 will ensure a safe run and minimum inconvenience to the public. The race starts at 07:30.

Athletes can enter online on or at major sports stores. The first 400 athletes will receive a Nike T-shirt, and all finishers will receive a medal.

Closing date for online and manual entries will be on Saturday, 21 May 2022.

Collection of race numbers as well as late entries, will be available at registration at Southern Sun The Marine Hotel from Thursday, 2 June, from 12h00 to 18h00 and from 10h00 to 22h00 on Friday, 3 June. No collection of race numbers will be allowed on the morning of the event. 

Enquiries: Mike Mbambani 079 149 6796.