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 New Age (Northern Cape) - - FREE STATE NEWS - BECKER SEMELA beck­ers@the­newage.co.za

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.

PIC­TURE: FLICKR

CHALLENGE: The sec­ond an­nual OR Tambo marathon takes place in Bloem­fontein on Sun­day.

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