As Francistown City Council (FCC) intensifies its efforts to transform the second city into an investment hub by 2022 through the Francistown Investment Forum (FIF), beMobile has also joined the initiative as it recently launched the beMobile marathon last week in Francistown. The move is expected to help transform Francistown into a city of vibrancy and further attract more businesses into the city through sports tourism.
The cell phone network giant is sponsoring the marathon at a tune of P500 000. The marathon which is a pilot project is expected to take off on the 15th of February 2015, just a day after Valentine.
Launching the marathon, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Ben Tobedza who is also the brains behind the marathon said that after realizing that Francistown was lagging behind in terms of activity they decided to introduce this marathon.
“Everything happens in Gaborone and Francistown has over the years regressed into a dull and uninteresting city. We want to transform that through this marathon and resuscitate the vibrancy in Francistown,” said Tobedza.
He said that this initiative will help give Francistown a facelift and help correct the stereotype that it is a city infested with crime and other ill-habits. Tobedza who was born and raised in Francistown said that Francistown has potential and it is upon the residents to cleanse its image and put it on the map.
“This kind of marathon will help the market in Francistown and the residents of this city will benefit from this as it will also bring about sports tourism. The business people will also benefit from this initiative as it will be some form of leisure for investors. This will also stimulate interest on potential investors to set up businesses in this city,” he said.
Tobedza was optimistic that the marathon will become a success as a high number of sponsors have already expressed interest in supporting the event. Some of the sponsors include, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, Cresta, Duma FM, The Voice newspaper and Emergency Assist.
He said that if the project proves to be a success, it will be turned into an annual event. He said that the registration fee will be P150 for 42 km, 21 km and 10 km runners. He said participants under the age of 18 will be required to pay a fee of P100 for 21km and 10 km marathons. Those willing to participate in the fun run are required to pay P50.
“We will soon be launching a website with details about this marathon. We are targeting to host 2500 runners. We expect villages and towns in the north side of Dibete to participate in this marathon,” Tobedza added.
The Head of Public Relations at Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) which is the main sponsor through beMobile, said that although there have been sponsoring sports such as beMobile premier league; they found it befitting to also sponsor athletics. He said that they will do everything possible to help grow sports in the country. He however said that the prizes for the marathon are yet to be announced.
“We also believe that through sports we can also help develop Francistown through sports tourism because this city has got much potential,” Kganela said.
He said that the profits accrued from the marathon will be used to help the underprivileged in the city of Francistown and the surrounding areas.
For his part, Tshiamo Morobosi who is the Director of Communications at Francistown Investment Forum (FIF) said that they will help facilitate the marathon and will continue to support such events in an endeavor to develop Francistown.
“Our role as the Francistown Investment Forum is to facilitate events of this nature and we will continue to do so as part of our journey to develop and bring investment into this city,” he said in conclusion.