The Diacore Gaborone Marathon’s slogan is RISE.RUN.SHINE, and that is exactly what a strong contingent of athletes from the Nedbank Running Club (NRC) plan to do at this weekend’s spectacular event.
Great performances are expected from the team of experienced and strong elite runners who will be representing the NRC over the marathon, half marathon and 10km distances.
Since title sponsor Diacore adopted the race in 2012 it has grown from 2 000 to well over 6 000 participants, and as an AIMS and IAAF certified event the Diacore Gaborone Marathon is a qualifier for the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. It is also widely renowned as one of the flattest and fastest routes in the region. So needless to say, though the event is inland, organisers are expecting some super fast times, especially in the light of the 1 Million Pula Challenge (R1 200 000) that Diacore has put up. This incentive awaits the first runner to break 2:08 for the marathon.
The Green Dream Team
The NRC team will be arriving in Gaborone on Saturday and great things are expected of the team at Sunday’s race, says Pio Mpolokeng, Team Manager and Development Coach for the NRC.
“This is the third year that we have been invited by the organisers to partake in the event and this year we are confident that our team members will do well over all three distances,” says Mpolokeng. In 2016 NRC athletes dominated the 10km and half marathon events, placing 1st and 2nd in both distances, but unfortunately there were no podium positions for the NRC in the marathon distance. In 2017 NRC athletes once again dominated the 10km and half marathon events with a podium position in the marathon distance.
“This year we have high hopes for Sibusiso Nzima to do well in the marathon as well as Obed Kopong, who placed 3rd in the marathon last year. It was also his first marathon ever,” says Mpolokeng. In the half marathon distance 2018 Two Oceans Half Marathon winner David Manja and 5th place finisher at Oceans Joel Mmone are expected to shine, while Phillemon Mathiba is going all out in the 10km event.
In the women’s half marathon race all eyes will be on Rutendo Nyahoro, fondly known as the ‘Queen of the Road’ due to her incredible records. She represented Zimbabwe at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The NRC athletes will be up against a group of Botswana’s elite long distance runners. In 2016, the marathon created the Diacore Gaborone Marathon running program which features up to ten of Botswana's elite long distance runners.
The team has since gone on to conquer podiums all across the nation through to Soweto in South Africa and of course their home course of the Diacore Gaborone Marathon. The people of Botswana wait with bated breath to see how the runners will perform at the 2018 event and ultimately in Tokyo 2020, which stands as the principle goal.
All proceeds from registration are donated to charity; with a MILLION Pula in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively, an incredible fete for and by the people of Botswana.
The following NRC athletes will be representing the Green Dream Team:
· Sibusiso Nzima
· Jonas Makhele
· Obed Kopong
· Lympson Maifo
· Ngonidzashe Ncube
· Isaac Mpofu
Half Marathon (Men)
· Joel Mmone
· David Manja
· Ntshediso Nphakathi
Half Marathon (Women)
· Rutendo Nyahora
· Boitumelo Mokgothu