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Rakabaele race on Saturday

Leemisa Thuseho

THE Berea Tourism Establishment Forum (B-TEF) in conjunction with the Berea Athletics Association (BAA) will on Saturday stage the second edition of the annual Gabasheane Rakabaele half-marathon in Berea.

The race named after the late Rakabaele, was incepted last year to commemorate his legacy.

Marathoners will contest in the 21.1km race and the five-kilometre developmental race starting in TY and ending in Ha-Rakabaele.

The late Rakabaele is one of the finest runners to ever come out of Lesotho. He is also the first black man to win the 56 km Two Oceans Marathon in South Africa recording 3:18:05 in 1976. He died in 2003.

He also represented Lesotho in the Olympics in 1980 in Moscow and in Los Angeles in 1984.

Last year he was also awarded the Sports Legacy Award at the Lesotho Sports Annual Awards (LASA).

Speaking at the launch of this year’s race in TY this week, one of Lesotho’s veteran long-distance runners and B-TEF member, Teboho Sello, said apart from commemorating Rakabaele’s legacy, the race is also meant to boost the district’s tourism.

“We realised that Berea district lacked tourism activities and decided to stage the annual race to boost tourism,” Sello said.

“We have also realised that South Africa talks more about Rakabaele while Lesotho has done nothing in his remembrance.”

He said the race has shown signs of growth and they have also increased the monetary prizes.

“We are hoping this race will become one of the best in the country and attract as many high-profile international runners as possible.”

Lintle Mohale, the licensing clerk at the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture in Berea said they have also identified other heroes who they now hope to celebrate in future.

“We only started last year and it is not easy to do all we want to do concurrently due to financial challenges,” Mohale said.

Mohale believes that the more the race grows, the more the Ha-Rakabaele community benefits.

“The Ha-Rakabaele community will get an opportunity to sell and display their wares. That way, the race will be impacting positively on the community.”

Male and female winners in the 21.1 km race will pocket M2 500 each and gold medals while the first runners up will take home M2 000 and silver medals. The third-placed runners will get M1 500 and bronze medals.

The winners in the developmental race will only get medals.

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