All set for Soweto Marathon

2010-10-31 13:55

The Soweto Marathon set for next Sunday is, for the first time, likely to be graced by runners from Kenya and Ethiopia.

The flagship Athletics South Africa (ASA) event has over the years attracted runners from neighbouring states such as Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and race officials were hopeful that the two East African road-running powerhouses would confirm their participation this week.

Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) president and ASA board member James Moloi said this week he had extended an invitation to Kenya and Ethiopia while he was Team SA’s head of delegation at the recent World Marathon Championship in China.

“The Soweto Marathon is the biggest race in our road-running calendar and by having Kenya and Ethiopia in the lineup their presence will further boost our hopes of matching the best in the world like the New York and London marathons,” he said.

Moloi said his office had received more than 7 000?entries this week alone and among the entrants were the defending champions as well as those from Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Last year’s race saw a relatively unknown Tshidiso Bosiu, running in Gauteng Striders colours, and debutant Nedbank Athletics Club runner Rene Kalmer ending a decade of dominance by athletes from Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the 20-year-old marathon.

The withdrawal of title sponsor Nedbank last year caused panic among the athletics community leading up to this year’s event, but the interim board of ASA was able to secure sponsorship of more than R 1 ?million.

Moloi said: “The total prize purse for the race is R700 000 as we were able to source about R1.4?million in total sponsorship.”

He added that they expected entries to hit the 10 000 mark when the final collection was made at other entry points leading to Sunday.

The first man and woman home will each pocket R100 000.

The 42.2km race will start at 6am at Nasrec in Johannesburg, followed by the 10km race and the 10km wheelchair 20 minutes later, while the 10km walk and the 5km fun run will take off at 6.30am and 8am respectively.

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