Mokhotlong- VETERAN, Lebenya Nkoka and Mamoroallo Tjoka respectively won in the male and female categories of High Altitude Summer Marathon yesterday in Mokhotlong.
Nkoka ran the race in 02:30:36 hours while Tjoka clocked 03:17:17 on their way to winning the races which carried M100 000 prize money each.
Ramolefi Motsieloa was the men’s first runner up and he received M60 000. Zimbabwean, Lyon Muchena who finished third got M30 000.
Ntebaleng Letsela was second in the female category and Thato Sesheme was third. They received the same prize money as the second and third-placed male athletes.
Nkoka meant business from the start as he quickly broke away from the leading pack.
The Olympian never looked back as he kept on increasing the gap between him and Muchena who was on second until he was overtaken by the energetic Motsieloa along the half way mark.
Motsieloa chased Nkoka but the veteran runner’s experience told as he kept his pace and forced Motsieloa to settle for the second spot.
“I am very happy with how I ran” an elated but visibly tired Nkoka said in the post-race interview. He attributed his win to hard work.
“I prepared for the Soweto Marathon (in South Africa) early last month but things didn’t go my way so I shifted focus to this race and I am glad that I won it.
“It was not really a challenge for me because I enjoy running uphill so I was just sailing.”
Tjoka also expressed her happiness on continuing with her winning streak in the aftermath of her two year ban that was imposed after she was found guilty of using banned substances.
“It’s good to be back in the game and I am happy that I have continued winning races. This was a tough race but the experience I have worked for me.
“The weather was also good as it was not sunny and I think the fact that this was an uphill race also gave us an advantage as local runners,” Tjoka said.
This was the first time the race was held under the full administration of the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC).
There were also of 21.1 km and 5 km categories.
Jobo Khatoane and Neheng Khatala who won the male and female categories the 21.1 km respectively, pocketed M20 000.
The first and second runners up (Mothim Hatisi and Nomakoe Nkhasi in the male category and Liteboho Makhatseane and Mokulubete Makatisi in the female) got M12 000 and M8000 respectively.
The winners of the 5 kilometers category received M5000 while the first and second runners up got M4000 and M3.400 respectively.