ORT marathon ready for starter
In its first anniversary, the race takes place to celebrate Oliver Tambo in his birthday month – with handsome prizes for winners
THE much-awaited annual OR Tambo marathon takes place in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
The 42.2km marathon, 21.1km halfmarathon and 10km races will start and finish at the Mangaung Athletics Stadium.
Arts and culture spokesperson Tankiso Zola said the marathon will be hosted in collaboration with the Free State Sport Confederation, Free State Athletics, Mangaung Athletics and Pamoja Athletics Club.
“First staged in 2016, the marathon has made its mark as one of South Africa’s premier marathons.
“The 2017 marathon edition coincides with the centenary celebrations of the life and times of Oliver Reginald Tambo, hence 2017 was declared as the Year of OR Tambo,” he said.
Zola said Tambo made a heroic contribution to the liberation of the people of SA and also championed the cause to realise the country’s constitutional democracy.
“It is anticipated that Mangaung will become a beehive of activities, hence members of the community are expected to come out in their numbers to support their favourite athletes,” he said.
Two Free State- based athletes, Tyler Beling and Louzanne Coetzee, are among local athletes who have entered the marathon and have been tipped as athletes to look out for.
He said Beling is a Grade 12 pupil and a prefect at Fichartpark Hoërskool.
Coetzee, a blind Paralympian, entered the T11 21.1km half marathon in 2016 and finished in 1 hour 39 minutes.
“She is taking part again this year and her goal is to finish the marathon at 1 hour 30 minutes.
“Coetzee is someone who can be expected to win with her guide Khothatso Mokone as they broke records in many races including the world record in the 500m at the Nedbank National 2017 Paralympic Championships earlier this year,” Zola said.
He said Coetzee was also part of the South African team at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and the world record holder in the 5 000m.
Coetzee is also the African champion in the 1 500m.
The prize for the 42.2km of men and women will see each winner bag R80 000 while the rest of the top 10 winner take home prizes ranging from R8 000 to R60 000.
For the 21.1km half-marathon, winners will take R30 000 prize money, while the rest of the top 10 winners take home prizes ranging from R1 000 to R20 000.
The 10km race first position winners bag R15 000 prize and other top five winners will take home prizes ranging from R3 000 to R12 000.
Tambo, fondly known as OR, was born on October 27, 1917, in the village of Nkantolo in Bizana in eastern Pondoland, in what is today known as the Eastern Cape.
His father, Mzimeni Tambo, the son of a farmer and an assistant salesperson at a local trading store, had four wives and 10 children.
The ANC will also celebrate his centenary at the end of the month to mark his birthday.
CHALLENGE: The second annual OR Tambo marathon takes place in Bloemfontein on Sunday.