The inaugural Gaborone City Marathon, which is billed for April, is set to be a thriller as Olympic medalists are tipped to participate in the prestigious event. The marathon’s organizers say that athletes want to participate in the Gaborone City marathon as it will help them to qualify for other top events.
The marathon’s Technical Director, Norrie Williamson, said that Olympic medalists in both men and women’s categories will make it to Gaborone, which will make the race even more interesting.
“Currently, I cannot say much, as details will be revealed in due course. What we can tell you is that some Olympic medalists will make it to Gaborone. This marathon has been approved by the IAAF, which means that athletes can use it to qualify for major races,” he said.
Williamson also said the fact that Botswana’s terrain is relatively flat when compared to other countries will make the race a less tedious one for athletes.
“Botswana is a nice country with favourable weather conditions. Gaborone is around 900 meters above sea level while Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa are between 1500-1600 meters. Most of the South African marathons are held in Johannesburg and Pretoria. But now that Gaborone is in the picture, most athletes will consider competing in Botswana,” he said.
The tournament will also be beneficial to Botswana athletes as they will use it to improve their records and qualify for major international events. In the past local athletes had to travel outside to achieve this, and problems always arose because of limited resources.
While some marathons were mired by controversies resulting from deaths, Williamson has said that they have a strict health policy that they are following.
“We will be strict on the marathon which is 42.2km. Those who do not have clubs will have to present doctor’s certificates. But we will be flexible on the shorter routes,” he said.