The 32nd edition of the Orange Phikwe Marathon, the only IAAF registered marathon in the country, jogs back into town on the 5th of August.
The race provides runners with the chance to qualify for international athletics competitions, as well as a bumper P25, 000 pay day for winning the main, 42.2km event (the top ten finishers will all receive a cash prize).
Registration is already open and over 2, 000 runners are expected to turn up on the day, which also includes races over 15km, 10km and 4km distances.
In the past, athletes such as Tiyapo Maso and Bashingile Ndabili have qualified for the Olympics through the Phikwe Marathon
The event’s PRO, Kennedy Dudzayi is hopeful that some of this year athletes will be able to run a sub 2hr24m time, which would see them qualify for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia.
“The aim for this year’s event is to have athletes using it to qualify for the coming Commonwealth Games. We have Botswana Athletics Association representatives in the organising committee to help in that regard,” Dudzayi told Voice Sport, adding that race organiser’s have engaged Pro Time Company for ‘proper and accurate timing’.
The day will include other sporting contests, as Dudzayi highlights, “There will be other activities like tug of war and 5-a-side football taking place at the marathon village on the day. We are also going to have a marathon after party and, as part of giving back to the community, all the gate takings will be donated to YWCA to build a kitchen.”
Orange Cooperate Affairs Director, Lepata Mafa-Nthomola revealed her company would be sponsoring the event for the next three years.
Nthomola is adamant the marathon presents an opportunity to ‘discover talent’, adding that the event can be used to promote sports tourism and economic diversification.
“Most countries use sporting events to grow their economy and we believe it is something that is possible in Phikwe and surrounding areas. We believe it can be packaged as a commercial vehicle to bring investors to Phikwe. That is why we have planned to bring a bigger and better event – it is about how we can help to re-build the town and bring it back to live,” said Nthomola.