Le­bopo to miss top marathon

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

Last year’s win­ner of the High al­ti­tude sum­mer Marathon, Mabuthile Le­bopo, would not de­fend his ti­tle next month but hopes lo­cal ath­letes walk away with first prizes in ev­ery sec­tion of the multi-cat­e­gory event.

Le­bopo (39) told the Le­sotho times this week that it was im­por­tant for all the ti­tles to re­main in Le­sotho to prove lo­cals’ pedi­gree and ex­pressed con­fi­dence his com­pa­tri­ots would do the coun­try proud when the race ex­plodes into life on 6 De­cem­ber in Mokhot­long.

“Un­for­tu­nately, I will not take part in this year’s com­pe­ti­tion as I’m rest­ing and not in good shape to run,” Le­bopo said on tues­day.

the veteran run­ner, who pock­eted the M100 000 first prize money last year, how­ever, warned that his fel­low ath­letes would have to be at their best to beat a large con­tin­gent of top run­ners ex­pected from coun­tries such as Ethiopia and Kenya.

“the race was very tough in 2013 as we had some Ethiopi­ans who were very com­pet­i­tive, but at the end, my ex­pe­ri­ence made the dif­fer­ence and I won the (42.2 kilo­me­tre) marathon,” Le­bopo said.ac­cord­ing to a mem­ber of the race’s or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, thabiso Mo­qhali, reg­is­tra­tion for the marathon, which also in­cludes 21.1km and 10km races, closes to­mor­row. a to­tal of over 115 000 run­ners had regis­tered for the marathon by tues­day, ac­cord­ing to Mo­qhali, who won the 1998 Com­mon­wealth Games marathon.

“Ev­ery­thing is in place for next week­end’s race and reg­is­tra­tion for ath­letes is clos­ing on Fri­day, 28 Novem­ber. We are ex­pect­ing reg­is­tra­tion to con­tinue even on the dead­line day as some of our top run­ners, whom we ex­pect to take part, are yet to come for­ward.”

Mo­qhali con­firmed among the top lo­cal run­ners yet to reg­is­ter is Mamoroallo tjoka, who came sec­ond to asefa Che­litu Bo­gela of Ethiopia in the fe­male cat­e­gory last year.

since its in­tro­duc­tion as the Mokhot­long City Marathon in 2003 and cov­er­ing 32.2 km, the race has since be­come Le­sotho’s premier marathon whose purse has in­creas­ingly at­tracted top, for­eign ath­letes. Run­ners-up and sec­ond run­ners-up take home M60 000 and M30000, re­spec­tively, while there are also prizes for ev­ery ath­lete who fin­ishes in the top 10.

the race’s or­gan­is­ers state on their web­site: “the marathon is a very chal­leng­ing event even for the most sea­soned marathon run­ner, and yet at the same time, af­fords an in­vig­o­rat­ing course for the keen ath­lete.

“the course, which takes the run­ners through pic­turesque vil­lages and amaz­ing moun­tain views, is done on flat as­phalt and gravel roads. It is marked by steep as­cents and des­cents. the roads do not re­quire spe­cial footwear. there will be a drink sta­tion ap­prox­i­mately ev­ery five kilo­me­tres serv­ing bot­tled wa­ter. Elec­trolyte drinks and ba­nanas will also be served at se­lected drink sta­tions.

“For run­ners with other nu­tri­tional re­quire­ments, per­sonal pro­vi­sions can be placed at se­lected drink sta­tions. a team of spe­cialised med­i­cal doc­tors and of­fi­cials will be in attendance for the du­ra­tion of the marathon. the se­lected team will have undis­puted au­thor­ity to ex­clude run­ners who, ac­cord­ing to their judge­ment, should not con­tinue run­ning.”

a well-pre­pared run­ner, the or­gan­is­ers add, should com­plete the marathon in three hours “but this needs care­ful plan­ning as ev­ery part of the course re­quires a dif­fer­ent strat­egy be­cause of the to­pog­ra­phy. Even though we start the race early, 06h00, most run­ners will ex­pe­ri­ence the sun and heat as they run. It is rec­om­mended to wear light/ light-coloured run­ning gear dur­ing the race. the great­est chal­lenge at such a high al­ti­tude for ath­letes not ac­cus­tomed to the al­ti­tude is breath­ing.”

Mabuthile le­bopo

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