The 2015 Nelson Mandela Bay Train Race between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage stations is set for a strategic yet exciting format change to keep the event aligned with the interests of the corporate market.
This year’s Train Race will see the inclusion of a Mountain Bike (MTB) leg for the relay teams which will now comprise of 5 runners and 1 MTB cyclist to challenge a Metrorail train over the 38km distance to remain the only event in the Metro which incorporates all 3 towns of the Metro.
“Arguably the fastest-growing sport in South Africa, cycling has taken the nation by storm and many believe it will usurp the prized position long-held by golf as the corporate sport of choice.” said race director Michael Zoetmulder of Zsports, PE’s only professional non-profit sports events company. “Feedback from last year was that the companies battled to find 7 runners to fill their teams whilst we continue to see a massive growth in the social MTB market around the country, particularly amongst business leaders.”
The change in the format also makes this event the first duathlon relay race of it’s kind in the Province and sees approval from regional custodians of the sport, Eastern Province Triathlon Association, who will sanction this year’s race to ensure all teams are covered under the licensing of Triathlon South Africa.
Open to company teams, club teams, social teams and schools teams, the inaugural Nelson Mandela Bay Train Race in 2014 featured no fewer than 220 teams as man versus machine tackled the PRASA managed Metrorail public commuter train from Port Elizabeth to Uitenhage stations. The course for this year remains the same with the distances of the 5 run legs remaining as per 2014 and the MTB leg comprising of 2014’s stages 4 and 5 between Swartkops and Perseverance Station.
Organisers have confirmed that the 2015 Train Race will be limited to 300 teams, a target which they believe will be snapped up before the end of July following the great response already received in the early entry stage. “Whilst out having fun during the race, it’s also paramount that we are made aware of the struggles of the communities along the way, ” said Zoetmulder, ” and to this end our charity organisation for this event continues to be local NPO Love Story who are making an amazing difference to the lives of those in need in our city but they need the help of those more fortunate through donations and assistance. We hope that this event can open more doors for them and that competing companies will support this initiative and come forward with support.”
Online entries for the train race are available on the website www.nmbtrainrace.co.za with late entries coming into effect from early next month. The train tickets for the spectators and families will also become available in early July and will be advertised on the website and Facebook page to allow everyone a fair chance to get their tickets.
The inaugural Great Train Race between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage took place on 27 July 2014 when the train beat the runners by 30 seconds in a time of 1 hour 56 minutes.