MAGOTLHWANE: Cross-country runners descended on Magotlhwane, near Otse to participate in the year’s first series of the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) cross-country on Saturday.
The athletes found it tough to negotiate the uncompromising terrain due to the recent rains. Dikgakgamatso Modisagape of Lion’s Den Club proved he was the best prepared as he cantered to victory in the senior men’s 10km race.
He took the lead from the start to the finish with Sesebo Matlapeng on his heels, but Modisagape was too strong. In the final stretch, Modisagape put distance between him and the chasing pack, as he crossed the line in 34 minutes.
Speaking to Sport Monitor afterwards, Modisagape said he followed instructions of the coach.
“He advised me to start the race with a jog and sprint at the end. It is a first (race) and runners are not fit and even myself I am not at a level that I want. Matlapeng was putting me under pressure but I stuck to my pace,” he said.
Modisagape said the course was difficult, especially when they went through mud and water.
Matlapeng said he participated in the race to keep fit and proceed to the next stage of cross-country series.
“I attempted to start the race without a warm-up, but I have realised that it was risky. The feet took long to respond and that killed me. The course was challenging,”
Onkarabile Seitei, who finished third in just over 36 minutes, said he lacked endurance and it meant he should train harder.
The organiser of the series, Thatayaone Lefatshe of Jwaneng Athletics Club said they identified the course because it has all the obstacles needed for cross-country.
“It rained and it is an ideal condition for cross-country. Our athletes mostly compete in flat courses and it would seem like they are running road races. After they qualify for World Cross-Country Championships in countries like Uganda and Denmark, they find challenging courses, so we brought them here to a challenging course,” he said.
Lefatshe said 375 metres of the course were mostly muddy, sandy and water. He said that challenges the athletes’ fitness levels, which is still lacking due to the festive break.
He said the intention is for the course to host the national Cross-Country Championships.
Lefatshe said the course is also good because spectators and officials can watch the entire race from an aerial view, atop a hill, unlike in other places where athletes are mostly visible from the finishing point. He said it was unfortunate that a few people attended the race as they did not have enough time to market the event.