When the late Boet Kahts and Phill Roberts started the Phikwe marathon in 1985, the two could not have fathomed the great impact their act would have on Botswana’s athletics.
Twenty-five years after its formation, the marathon continues to attract a lot of talented athletes who find it difficult to resist the temptation of competing in what is probably this country’s most gruelling and lucrative marathon.
According to the race’s Marketing and Communications officer, Tiro Kganela, more than 50 international athletes have registered to pit their strength and endurance against more than 1500 for this year’s national championship.
Kganela says the race, which is run in the flattest course rate to the flattest by the International Athletics Associations Federations, is worth a million pula in terms of its sponsorships for this year’s edition.
He says preparations for this year’s marathon have gone accordingly, saying both athletes and sponsors have come in numbers.
This year’s edition of the marathon has attracted various sponsors, including Mascom, Botswana Tourism Organisation, BCL Limited, Discovery Drillers, DUMA FM, Mmegi, The Voice, Cresta and all hotels and lodges in Selebi Phikwe.
The marathon is billed for the weekend of July 10 behind Cresta Bosele Hotel in Selebi Phikwe. Kganela says apart from the main event, a 42.2 km marathon, there will also be a 15 km race as well as a four (4) km fun run. The marathon festivities will start with a dinner hosted by the Botswana Tourism Board on the 9th July while the race starts at 6.30 am on 10th July.
The race will also have a good payout as winners of the main event, the 44.2 km marathon will pocket P25┬á000 for both the men and ladies category while winners of the 15 km races will walk away P5000 richer also in both ladies and men categories.
Kganela has informed Telegraph Sport that they have already received confirmations from various ministers and Chief Executive Officers for participation. Botswana Tourism Organisation’s CEO is expected to be the guest speaker at the event.
The marathon will be preceded by prize giving at 1pm followed by the Rugby classics at 2pm. The day will finish with an after party featuring ┬álocal talent ÔÇô House Junkies, Owen Rampha of Yarona FM, Obza of Rb Two, Bunz of Francistown and Eugine Jackson.