Nedbank Running Club athletes from South Africa have proven that they are too good for local runners as they dominated the annual Diacore Gaborone Marathon that was held yesterday. The athletes claimed the men’s 21 kilometre and 42 kilometre races, but missed out on the P1 million prize money that was set.
Sibusiso Nzima bagged the 42km race with a time of 02:16:56 missing out on the 2:08:00, which was the P1 million target. His teammate, Isaac Mpofu followed closely with 2:26:58. Ngonidzashe Ncube still from Nedbank was third with a time of 02:17:49. Joel Mmoni, who finished in the second position last year, had a good day in the office as he finished in the first position. His Nedbank counterpart, David Manja, who was the champion last year, came second. Rapula Diphoko of Diacore Runners Club was in the mix as he got a podium finish in the third position.
Olivia Chitate of Zimbabwe matched to finishing line as the women’s champion of the 42km race. Mantshapelo Badumetse of Diacore Runners Club, came second with a Namibian runner, Annah Amutoko coming in third.
Speaking to Sport Monitor after the race, Nzima said his plan was to walk away with the title. Nzima said he did not target the P1 million.
“My preparation was not enough to win the P1 million. The time that was set was too fast for me. The course was flat and I faced some competition from Kenya and Zimbabwe. Around 21km, where the races split, there was a Kenyan runner who was 400m ahead of me and I had to work hard to close the gap,” he said.
Nzima, who was making his debut at the marathon, said he was impressed with the way the race went. He said local runners have the potential and they just need to put more
The first Motswana to arrive in the men’s 42km was Godiraone Nthomphe of BDF Athletics Club. He finished in position six with a time of 2:22:00. He said the race was competitive due to foreign athletes. Nthomphe said he was impressed with his time though he had a knock along the route.
“I just lack international exposure for me to do well in marathon. Regarding the 2:08:00 that was set, it is difficult to run that in Africa. That time can only be expected in Europe,” he said.
For her part, Badumetse said there are still some challenges for the local runners to win the 42km race. She said that could be due to lack of exposure. Badumetse said locals believe that foreigners are faster than them before the race starts.
“Last year I had an opportunity to compete at the Soweto marathon and AUSC Region V. Since the arrival of the Diacore marathon programme, the situation is better. Last year I finished in the third position and today I pushed hard to come second with a time of 2:58:00. It is important to always do a better time,” Badumetse said.
Other results: 10km men: 1) Sylvester Koko (Diacore), 2) Shaliaxwe Jeremia (Namibia) and 3) Amantle Kekganetswe (Diacore).
10km women:1) Ndeshimona Ekandjo (Namibia), 2) Lame Nare (Bobonong) and 3) Marea Maano
21km women: 1) Otilia Aimwata (Namibia), 2) Cathrine Skosana (Nedbank) and 3) Kefilwe Galeitsiwe.