star field for race

Richard Nkosi

Richard Nkosi

Top South African runners will invade Mpumalanga on Saturday for the Middelburg Nedbank Matha Series.

Some of the big names on display in Middelburg include Hendrick Ramaala, Josiah Thugwane, Simon Ngomane and Enos Matalane.

Matalane won the series last year at KaNyamazane after covering the 21,1km in a time of 1hr:2min:51sec.

He was followed by Portipher Dombojena and Jeffrey Gwebu, both from Zimbabwe, who finished in 1:03:42 and 1:04:01, respectively.

Ramaala, 37 made it clear that he will be using the race to sharpen himself for the celebrated London Marathon on April 26.

Acting Athletics South Africa general manager Molatelo Malehopo Said: "Last year's race was held at KaNyamazane and this year we decided to move it to the town of Middelburg because all Nedbank Matha Series races rotate to accommodate most towns in the provinces."

He said Middelburg was easily accessible from most parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and they are hoping to get a sizeable number of athletes taking part this year. Mpumalanga Athletic Association president Ben Makula said they would be pleased to have more than 2 000 people taking part.

"We are mobilising and encouraging athletes and those who love the sport to attend the event," said Makula. "The event is also an opportunity for the Mpumalanga province to showcase our passion for athletics events."

Total prize money for the half marathon is R207000. The first prize is R20000, second R15000 and third R10000 for both men and women.

Saturday's race will start at 7am at the Steelcrest High School, corner Springbok and Lillian Ngoyi streets (opposite Kees Taljaard Stadium), and finish at the same venue.

As is tradition, there will also be a 5km fun run, which incorporates the schools challenge, starting at 7.30am. Runners may collect their race numbers on Friday at Steelcrest High School or on race day.

To enter the race log on to or download an entry form from

Entries may also be obtained Running Inn in Tshwane, in Johannesburg at Run-a-way Sport, at The Sweatshop Dunkeld and Fourways as or at Middelburg Marathon Club.