Hundreds of local runners are expected to brace the cold Sunday weather to compete in the inaugural Gaborone Half Marathon. The marathon, which is organised by Sports Entertainment, will start and end at the Riverwalk Shopping Mall. According to Sports Entertainment Events Executive, Thapelo Radikgokong, the organisers are expecting between 600 and 800 runners to grace the event.
By Monday, at least 504 runners were said to have already registered to compete in the inaugural race. Speaking in an interview, Radikgokong said the event has attracted some of the country’s elite athletes to compete at the event. Among the well known figures who have already registered to compete in the race are the likes of Rapula Diphoko and Sesebo Matlapeng in the men’s category as well as Joyce Tau and Meme Tiango in the ladies’ category. According to the Sports Entertainment Events Executive, the race will be run in three categories, namely, the half marathon, otherwise known as the 21km run, the 10km run as well as the 5km run. She said their decision to divide the race in three categories was derived from their intention to ensure the race is accessible to diverse runners.
In addition to the races, Radikgokong said the 10km category will also be open for the corporate challenge, ‘where companies will battle it out for who is the fastest.’ According to Radikgokong, the Marathon will also be a charity event, with 40% of the event’s proceeds expected to be channeled to Kagisano Society Women’s Shelter.
She said through partnership with Kagisano Society Women’s Shelter, Sports Entertainment, who are the event organisers, are aiming to raise awareness on issues pertaining to women abuse and gender based violence. As the organisers, their intention is to rally the public and different companies to donate to the Kagisano Society Women’s Shelter. The shelter was established in 1998 in response to the growing gender based violence, especially violence targeted at women in Botswana. Their vision is to end gender based violence in Botswana through the provision of Temporary Shelter, Counselling, Community Education and outreach on Gender Based violence and Advocacy.
Meanwhile, the organisers say there will be cash prizes for winners as well as medals for all the race participants. The winners of the open categories, both men and women, will walk away with a P3 000 cash prize, while the second and third position will be awarded P2 000 and P1 500 respectively. The cash prizes will be extended to all other race categories, with the only exception being the 10km Corporate Challenge where winning companies will be awarded trophies.
The Gaborone Marathon, which has a cumulative sponsorship of around P35 000, is sponsored by among others, Sunday Standard, Barclays Life, E-Botswana, Book Promotions, Emergency Assist, Twizza/Elite Energy Drink and Gabs FM.┬áAccording to the organisers, runners registering for the 21km race will be expected to part with a P150 fee, while those competing in the 10km and 5km fun run will pay registration fees of P100 and P50 respectively. Registration for the event is expected to close today (Wednesday).