It was becoming a norm that foreign runners dominate local road races. But that was brought to a halt yesterday at Botswana Life half marathon.
Most of the athletes were using the race as a dress rehearsal for Phikwe national marathon that follows next weekend.
Rapula Diphoko of Diacore runners club was the fastest and won the race in 1:07:24. Pint-sized Sesebo Matlapeng followed closely to reach the finish line in 1:07:27.
Another local runner, Amantle Kekganetswe with a time of 1:07:40 claimed the third position. Namibian runner Issace Kigen arrived fourth with a time of 1:08:33. Another Diacore club runner, Sylvester Koko claimed the 10km race in 30:53.
Namibian runner, Leena Ekandjo won the women’s title with a time of 1:20:14. She repeated what she did during the recent BDF half marathon. Kefilwe Galeitsiwe and Keneilwe Kwena followed each respectively. The race favourite, Mema Tiango of Diacore runners club had a bad day in the office as she finished fifth with a time 1:29:40.
Veteran road race athlete, Onkemetse Solotate made her presence
“I have been resting and did speed training on Friday. It has been an off-season and I have been taking it easy. The race went according to plan. But I was disappointed that Namibians and Kenyans did not give me the push that I expected,” he said.
For his part, Matlapeng said the most important thing was to prepare speed for the next race.
“Next weekend we are going to run in a course full of obstacles. That is going to be interesting for me because as a short person, I am able to take advantage. Taller athletes use most of their energy in long strides,” Matlapeng said.
The women’s champion, Ekandjo said she did not face stiff competition from her opponents.