ACTING Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) Chief Executive Officer, Mofihli Makoele, says a lot more needs to be done to ensure that the annual High Altitude Summer Marathon becomes one of the best competitions on the continent.
His comments come in the wake of the recent marathon, the first to be held under the full control of the LSRC. Since its inception in 2003, the marathon has been under the purview of the Sports ministry.
This year’s race was won by Mamoroallo Tjoka in the female category and Lebenya Nkoka in the male section. They each received M100 000 in prize money.
The course, which runs through the district of Mokhotlong takes the runners through picturesque villages and amazing mountain views, at an altitude of about 2400m above sea level and is marked by steep ascents and descents.
Makoele recently told the Sunday Express that the race had the potential to be on the same level with some of the biggest in Africa including the Soweto and Two Oceans marathons in South Africa.
He said they were in consultations with the Sports ministry to map ways of improving it.
He said hosting the race had come with some challenges but added these had given them invaluable lessons going forward.
“This was our first experience hosting a race of this magnitude and of course it came with lot of challenges on the technical and administrative aspects but this was a learning curve for us,” Makoele said.
“One of the things that need to be addressed was the low turnout from the Mokhotlong community who usually come out in numbers to support the runners. We have since spoken with the Mokhotlong District Administrator and hopefully next year there will be a difference.
“The other thing was that volunteers were not very helpful as they were often not at the expected places at the expected times,” Makoele said.
He also said they were optimistic more corporate entities would be on board to sponsor next year’s edition and thus fulfil their vision of making the race one of the biggest in Africa.
“There has also been a lot of positive interest from the corporate world and if we have more sponsors coming on board, then we will be able to compete with the best races on the continent.
“We also need to improve our prizes so that athletes will be enticed to compete in this race especially local runners,” Makoele said.