FRANCISTOWN: Botswana marathon runners will go head-to-head with their foreign counterparts at the Orange Phikwe marathon tomorrow, which has attracted nearly 1,000 runners.
Rapula Diphoko, Onkemetse Solotate and Sylvester Koko will have yet another chance to prove their mettle after they broke the foreigners’ dominance during the last Botswana Life half marathon.
Diphoko won the race in a time of 1:07:24 whereas Koko claimed the 10km race in 30:53. Solotate finished her Master’s category in second position with 1:33:12. Orange Phikwe Marathon, Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson, Omphemetse Makwape said all three runners, and Mema Tiango, who finished second last year, are part of tomorrow’s race.
Makwape said they have managed to attract close to 1,000 runners, who include participants from Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
He said this year, they have introduced the 21.1km half marathon.
“We have received an overwhelming response from athletes registering to participate in the 21.1km race.
We have also increased the race for all runners including amateurs and children from 4km to 5km to make it more interesting,” he said.
Makwape said there was great interest in the 10km and 42.2km races. The sponsor, Orange Botswana, renewed its partnership with a P660,000 deal for the next three years.
The winner of the 42.2km race pockets P25,000, while for the half marathon, the prize money is P9,000 and P5,000 for the 10km race. Runners who finished from position two to 10, will receive varying cash prizes.
Selebi-Phikwe Town Council, SPEDU, the Botswana Unified Revenue Service, Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and Botswana Tourism Organisation, amongst others, have been hailed for their role.
The Orange Phikwe marathon has over the years played a vital role by offering support and opportunities for local businesses.