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‘We are not worried about absence of top runners’

Moorosi Tsiane

THE organisers of the upcoming annual High-Altitude Summer Marathon say they are not worried about top local runners who might miss this year’s race after they took part in last weekend’s Soweto Marathon in South Africa.

The 16th edition of the race is scheduled for the 1st of December in Mokhotlong.

Last’s year champions Lebenya Nkoka and Mamoroallo Tjoka both participated in the Soweto Marathon where they both came second in their respective categories.

The other top local athletes who were in Soweto include the veteran Teboho Sello, Teboho Noosi, and Ramolefi Motsieloa.

They all finished in the top 10 with Noosi coming fourth while Sello came ninth.

According to Sejanamane Maphathe, who is one of the event organisers, from a technical perspective, there still is going to be stiff competition at the race despite the absence of the favourites. He said they have also received positive responses from foreign athletes.

“I don’t think it is going to be much of a problem for us whether or not they decide to come or not because from a health point of view, it is unwise to run back to back marathons as the body also has to recover fully to avoid injuries and chances are that they might not be coming unless come to run half marathon,” Maphathe said.

“But it is not a problem because there has been lot of positive response from the foreign runners especially Kenyans and we all; know how good they are when it comes to marathon so I don’t think this will affect the level of competition.”

Maphathe who is also the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) spokesperson said athletes have also been registering in big numbers and that is because of the high winning prizes this year.

“The last time I checked, we had already about 150 runners who had registered but the numbers are improving every day and I think it is because we have increased the prizes this year as the winners in both male and female categories of the marathon will pocket M120 000 each. The winners in the half marathon will get M20 000, winners in the 10 kilometers race will get M12 000 and M5000 for the winners in the five kilometre race,” he said.

He further said that the 2015 winner of the race, Pule Hlabahlaba, will be among the top runners who will grace the race this year.

“At the moment it is still unclear which top names will participate but I know that athletes are checking the list of participants so that they can weigh their chances and I still hope many will register soon. However, so far we have the 2015 winner from South Africa Hlabahlaba who has confirmed his participation,” Maphathe said.


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