The golden girl of long-distance running, Onneile Dintwe fears she is not fit enough to defend her Orange Phikwe National Marathon title.
The 32nd edition of the annual race, the only IAAF registered marathon in the country, jogs back into the former-mining town on Saturday.
Last year, Dintwe cantered to victory in a time of 2:52:06, beating her nearest rival by over five minutes.
This year, however, the 32-year-old, Kanye-born runner told Voice Sport her preparations have been severely hampered due to lack of funds.
According to Dintwe, who goes into tomorrow’s event on the back of a disappointing fourth-placed finish at the Diacore Marathon in May (a race she won last year), she will take part without any expectations of victory.
“These events put food on my table, I do not have a monthly allowance nor sponsor so I am forced to participate despite not being fit.
“Long distance is demanding I need to buy supplements so that my body does not become dehydrated. I will just try my luck but I’m not promising anything because I do not know how prepared other athletes are. I will just use my experience to finish the race,” said the 2017 champion, who has a habit of upsetting the odds, a trait that was evident in her spectacularly victory at last year’s Mayor’s Marathon, which she won despite having spent much of the build-up to the race in hospital with vomiting and dizziness.
Saturday marks the third consecutive year Orange have sponsored the event, with the Mobile giant’s once again pumping P200, 000 into the race.
795 local and international athletes took part in the 2017 event and more are expected to register this year.
For his part, Orange Botswana CEO Dr Patrick Benon said sponsoring the event shows Orange’s commitment not just to sports development in Botswana but also to supporting the long-suffering people of Phikwe.
“Phikwe is a veritable heart of Botswana in many ways, bearing great heritage and economic potential. The Marathon shines a spotlight on the town, injecting excitement and bringing support to the many local businesses both big and small,” reflected Benon.
The race includes four categories: the main 42.2km, 15km, 10km and 4km and closing date for the registration was on Thursday (9th August).
President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his wife Neo Masisi have confirmed they will participate in the event.