Gaborone — South African, Sibusizo Nzima and Zimbabwean, Olivia Chitate were crowned this year's Gaborone Diacore marathon winners in the 42km men and women categories respectively.
With the P1 million prize money at stake for whoever runs 42 kilometers within 2:08:00, the competition attracted elite runners from Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and all across Botswana, who braved the chill winter to sweat it out for the mouthwatering prize money.
A record 7 200 runners registered for this year's edition, to battle out in the 42, 21 and 10 kilometres categories, a huge jump from the previous best of 6 000, which shows that more than ever, Batswana have taken on the mantle of good health and active lifestyles.
The men's race started at a blistering pace, with pacesetter Ngonidzashe Ncube from Zimbabwe and other athletes from Kenya leading the pack towards the completion of the first 21km, but it was Nzima, who triumphed and crossed the finish line with 2:16:00 on the clock.
The 2016 Rio Olympian, who runs under the Nedbank Club banner was only eight minutes shy outside the P1 million prize money in his debutant appearance in the marathon.
Ngonidzane Ncube crossed the line in second position followed by Isaac Mpofu.Women's favourites, Chitate lived up to expectations as she was crowded the women's champion in the 42km category. The Zimbabwean athlete led from start to finish and proved that it is not the distance that kills in the marathon but the pace as she ran a solo race with minimal water intervals.
The 21km race was won by Joel Mmone from South Africa with his compatriot, David Manja finishing second while Botswana's Rapula Diphoko finished third. The local lads found the going tough in all categories except in the 10km race with Batswana ladies, Lame Nare and Marea Maano finishing third and second respectively behind Ekandjo Ndeshimona from Namibia.
Sylvester Koko proved Botswana's dominance in the middle distance marathons as he was crowned the 10km champion ahead of Jeremiah Shaliaxwe from Namibia and Amantle Kekganetswe from South Africa.
The Diacore Gaborone Marathon has raised over P5 million for charity, attracting runners of every type and experience level. The marathon has evolved from more than just being a fun day out and it is undoubtedly a cornerstone of the year's sporting calendar.
Source : BOPA