Preparations for the second be- Mobile Marathon which will be held on the 7th of August 2016 in Francistown are currently at an advanced stage. The marathon, which is sponsored by Botswana Telecommunications Corporations Limited through company, Be Mobile was kick started last year in an endeavor to breathe life into the second city as well as raising funds for charity initiatives.
Welcoming the participants during the second launch last week in Francistown, the Mayoress of Francistown Sylvia Muzila said the be-mobile marathon has proved to be a success as evidenced by the number of participants who thronged the event last year. She also said that the marathon has since stimulated sports interest in Francistown.
“The event came at a very good time for Francistown as we were also opening doors to our new stadium. The beginning of this marathon also stimulated sports interest among the residents of Francistown. This is evidenced by the success of national football matches that we host in our new stadium that are often well attended and the Botswana Games which were held in the city for the first time” she said She said the marathon was started at a very crucial time as the city is currently on its quest to transform into an economic hub by 2022.
“I believe this marathon will go a long way in not only stimulating sports interest but also enhancing the economy of Francstown,” she added.
Giving a brief overview of the marathon, the Chairperson of Be Mobile Marathon Local Organizing Committee, Ben Tobedza said that they are going to make the upcoming marathon a memorable event following the success of the first event last year.
“I am pleased to inform you that the past marathon was a tremendous success despite the fact it was the first of its kind in Francistown. We had projected to attract 1 500 runners, but we managed to attract double the projected number of athletes. This year we are targeting to attract 2 500 runners as per the contract with our sponsors The proceeds from the registration of the marathon are to be injected into charity initiatives in Francistown and the surrounding areas,” he said.
Tobedza lauded BTCL Foundation, Francistown City Council and various sponsors and stakeholders for making for their input in making sure that the marathon becomes a success .
Early this year, over P200 000 was donated to various charity organization in the form of equipment and food hampers as proceeds from the marathon. Seven charity organization benefited from these proceeds. BTCL through its subsidiary, Be Mobile sponsored the event at P500 000.The marathon also attracted international athletes from as far as Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia For his part, the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) General Manager (Strategy) Christopher Diswai said they are proud to be associated with such an achievement and it gives them comfort to continue supporting the initiative.
“This is a very important initiative as it aims to raise funds for charitable causes at the same time creating friendships and a healthy lifestyle. We are putting measures in place to ensure this year’s marathon becomes a success,” he said.
Diswai said through this marathon, they hope to touch and change many lives for the better as all proceeds will go to deserving causes. He also added that the health benefits for the community should be underestimated. He was also confident that the marathon will increase the economic benefits of Francistown and the surrounding areas.
“Over time there will be need to provide more services to visiting athletes, not just in accommodation and hospitality services like restaurants, but even the creation of business opportunities directly tied to the marathon such as first aid services, spectator facilities, food and coffee stalls,” he said.
Diswai said they are pleased to have partnered with other stakeholders in sponsoring this marathon with the hope that this initiative will place Francistown on the map and make it a destination of choice. He said being the second year of the sponsorship is just another step and testimony of BTCL’s commitment to giving back to the community in line with its foundation slogan of “Batho Ka Rona”
“We are mindful of the fact that the very communities that we aim to support through our charitable gestures, are now owners of BTCL following the successful initial public offering of BTCL shares and listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE). We cannot and we will not fail the over 50 000 new owners of BTCL.
BTCL has again sponsored the marathon this year at a total of P500 000.