Paris lights up their anniversary

2016-04-12 09:17
Panda Qamata has returned from an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2016 Paris Marathon.

Panda Qamata has returned from an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2016 Paris Marathon.

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Panda Qamata won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Paris Marathon which took place recently. His wife, Abongile, joined him, with both of them completing the race in under five hours. Abongile completing it in 04:46.27, with Panda crossing the line five minutes later in a time of 04:51.12.

Panda and Abongile, who are from the Adventist Athletics Club, were running along Camps Bay Promenade in 2013 when they met Francois Pienaar, an ambassador for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. “Francois was so sincere and motivating when convincing us to enter the Sanlam Cape Town marathon that we knew we had to do it,” recalls Panda, who has since completed two Sanlam Cape Town Marathons as well as a two Comrades and three Oceans Ultra.

Both have been avid runners since 2008 and were thrilled to be able to compete in a Gold Label-status marathon in Europe together, which coincided with their 10-year wedding anniversary.

The Paris Marathon is one of the most popular marathons in Europe with its beautiful scenic route through the City of Lights. The prize was sponsored by Sanlam and Asics and included flights, accommodation in Paris as well as entry into the race. Asics also sponsored an Asics experience at the Expo as well as running gear and shoes for both winners.

Abongile relished the opportunity to compete with international athletes in Europe, and to adjust to the different altitude and climate. “We were excited to have run together in a romantic city like Paris and to share this memorable experience as a couple.”

For Panda, it was also about running for South Africa. “My wife and I did our best to make our country proud. It was truly a great honour,” he says.

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