After a year off in the wilderness, the country’s premiere charity marathon, the Gaborone City Marathon, will be back again in the following year.
The race, which will now be known as the Steinmetz Gaborone Marathon, is expected to make its comeback on April 22 next year under the sponsorship of one of the world’s leading diamond companies, the Steinmetz Diamonds.
After making its debut in the local sporting scene in 2010, organizers of the marathon pulled the switch on its second edition in the past year citing financial troubles. In its maiden appearance, the race attracted at least 2┬á500 runners, making it one of the biggest marathons in the country.
Speaking in an interview, one of the marathon’s organizers, Stellan Bengtsson, expressed pleasure at the acquisition of Steinmetz Diamonds as the new sponsor to the event, saying that their entrance can only serve to lift the standard of the race even higher.
“Steinmetz Diamonds knows what it takes to be involved in these kinds of events and they will bring value. They have been involved in sports as they are sponsors of Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in Formula 1 arena since 2003 and the Flawless Engineering Weekend in Monaco and we believe they can help make this marathon one of the best,” Bengtsson said.
According to Bengtsson, after last year’s cancellation of the marathon, the organizers started looking for a new sponsor to take over and were rewarded when Steinmetz Diamonds showed interest in coming on board. According to Bengtsson, what pleased the most during the sponsorship negotiations was the diamond company’s keenness to come on board with a view of a long term sponsorship.
“They have sponsored us for this year but have also acquired an option to extend the sponsorship for the next four years, which is very likely to translate into five years of sponsorship,” Bengtsson added.
Despite being a charity event, the Steinmetz Gaborone Marathon, which will be co-sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, Phakalane Golf Estate and Hotel Resort, Leo Schachter Diamonds and Richold SA, is one of the biggest marathons in the country.
Going into next year’s marathon, Bengtsson said the target will be to have at least 3000 runners taking part in the race, which will be expected to be divided into three races, namely: the 42.2km race, 10km race and 4km Fun Run/Walk.
According to Bengtsson, while endeavoring to grow the event to professional level, they will also be expecting to have as many governmental departments, parastatal organizations as well the private sector, which will be in keeping with the charitable spirit of the marathon. “Steinmetz Diamonds and PGM Foundation will work closely together to create a great experience for elite athletes, sports fans and spectators, without changing the spirit of the inaugural Marathon,” Bengtsson said. The Marathon is accredited by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and governed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA). ┬áThe Steinmetz Gaborone Marathon 2012 supports the following official charities: Lady Khama Charitable Trust, Moremogolo Trust, Mothers for All, Seeing is Believing and Y Care Charitable Trust.