Sesego Matlapeng and Onneile Dintwe have successfully defended their titles as the respective king and queen of the annual PPC Kgale Hill Challenge.
In a race run this past wintry Sunday morning, the local duo proved they did not win last year’s championship by fluke as they once again left their competitors panting behind them.
Matlapeng completed the race in a time of 00:48:28, a minute more than last year, while Dintwe came in at 00:55:39, a time similar to the one she clocked last season’s race.
Speaking in a post-race interview, Dintwe said that despite her win, she was still unfit and was using the race to gain fitness.
“In January, I sustained a fracture and was on crutches for a month. This sidelined me from training for at least three months, hence I say I was unfit,” said Dintwe.
Concerning the time she ran, Dintwe said though she had intended to run the race in a lesser time than last year, she was not disappointed.
“Having won this race in 55 minutes last year, my intention for this year was to run a sub-52 time. However, seeing that I have run the same time I did last year and won though unfit, I am not disappointed,” quipped Dintwe.
The reigning women’s champion said her win was due to lots of commitment and determination to withstand all challenges that come with the race.
Matlapeng, who has vowed to retain his champion status again next year, said he came into the race well prepared.
“I was very well prepared though not at peak where I would have liked to be. However, I knew if I could hold them up until we reach the hill, I could beat them. Being short for this race has an advantage as I did not need to bend like tall people when climbing the hill; I just shot straight and I was able to win,” Matlapeng said.
For this race, Matlapeng said he had to show a lot of grit and determination to overcome his competitors.
“As the reigning champion, I was targeted by my competitors and wherever I went, they wanted to get in my way and stifle me, to the extent that they even tripped me during the race,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gaborone Runners Club (GRC) chairperson Zambia Champi has expressed happiness at the growth of the race, which he declared a success.
“This year we had almost 800 registered runners which signified an improvement from last year. We are proud of this race because it has developed amazing runners like Matlapeng and Dintwe,” Champi said.
He furthermore indicated that their aim was to continue to attract some of the best upcoming athletes.
They both walked away with the grand price of P7 500 each under the female and male category.