The Gaborone City Marathon (GCM) which takes off today (Sunday), has been greatly boosted by the signing of a Diamond Sponsorship Agreement with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).
SCB officials said that their involvement in the marathon is aimed at generating enthusiasm for athletics in Botswana and elevating the GCM to be the premier athletic event in the region.
David Cutting, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SCB Botswana said that they are proud to be a partner in the GCM, adding that SCB is involved in major marathons across the globe, such as the Nairobi, Singapore, Hong Kong and Mumbai Marathons.
“SCB encourages its entire staff, clients, and the community in general to turn out in large numbers both as supporters and participants. Marathons reflect the values that SCB espouses. These include being courageous, responding to challenges, leveraging on existing global expertise, finding ways to overcome obstacles and the determination to be there for the long run,” said Cutting.
He added that he is confident that the event will grow to become the largest annual sporting event in the country. More than 100 Standard Chartered employees and 2,000 other Batswana and international runners are expected to take part in the first ever Gaborone City Marathon today to raise money for charity and increase health and community awareness as well as achieve new milestones.
Thola Magang, Chairman of Gaborone City Marathon, said they are extremely delighted and proud to have SCB on board, hope to develop a long and fruitful partnership. As the organizers PGM Foundation will endeavour to host an event that key sponsors such as SCB are not only proud to be associated with but are also encouraged to grow the marathon further.
Magang further indicated that it is the ultimate aim of the GCM to become a full fledged member of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races(AIM) straight after today’s race, also become a silver or gold member alongside such marathons such as the London and Berlin marathons.
The GCM has been internationally accredited by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIM) and is a qualifier for the Commonwealth Games and the prestigious Comrades Marathon in South Africa. The marathon is considered a unique opportunity to unite participants, spectators and businesses with a common vision to promote Gaborone’s reputation as a safe and enjoyable sports tourism destination. Moreover, it has been resolved by the organizers that registration fees for the race will go to five official charities, namely Botswana Heart Foundation, Lady Khama Charitable Trust, Seeing is Believing, Sponsor A Child and Y Care Charitable Trust. Activities will start on Saturday with music, live radio broadcasts, entertainment and the Pasta Party at Phakalane Golf Estate, which is set to extend into the Race Day.
Several distinguished guests, including the Mayor of Gaborone Ms Lesole, and the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports, Shaw Kgathi, are scheduled to participate in the Race Start and the Awards Ceremony.
International athletes have already signed up to run in the 42.2 km marathon. With its flat course and minimal 1,100m altitude, the competition is expected to be both close and fast. A total 48 schools across the country have signed up for the 10km run and 4 km run / walk. G C M has approached businesses across the national and industry spectrum to assist in a country-wide marketing campaign calling on the nation to take part in this charity event, assisting people through organised training sessions as part of a joint initiative with several gyms in anticipation of the marathon.
In addition to prize money totaling P133 000 the top man and woman are assured a chance to each scoop a Botswana diamond plus a trip to the Okavango Delta, making this a unique Botswana event. The Gaborone City Marathon was founded in April 2009 by motivated like-minded group of individuals that have a passion for running.