All roads will lead to Mokhotlong

All roads will lead to Mokhotlong

MASERU – This year’s High Altitude Summer Marathon will be the best one ever, according to the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC).
The LSRC is hosting the annual showpiece marathon for the first time since it was handed over to the commission by the sports ministry last year.
The race will be held on December 1 in Mokhotlong and the LSRC is going all out to make the marathon a success.
One of this year’s innovations is a 10 kilometre pre-race on October 27 with more activities, including a Miss Culture beauty pageant in Mapholaneng, lined up in November to whet the appetite for the 2018 High Altitude Summer Marathon.

It is all part of a master-plan which organising committee member Sejanamane Maphathe says aims to showcase Mokhotlong’s beauty.
“The reason for so many pre-race events is that this year we are aiming to promote Mokhotlong as a district with its beautiful scenery so that it will attract more tourists and boost its economic sector,” Maphathe told thepost on Tuesday.

“As part of promoting and encouraging people to register for the 10km race, we are going to host a 10km pre-race on the 27th of this month in Mokhotlong,” he added.
The High Altitude Summer Marathon also features a new slogan – “finish what you have started.”

“Not everyone who joins the race is interested in prizes, some are interested in knowing Lesotho as a country and its tourism,” Maphathe explained.
“We found it important to engage traditional sports and include their dances as well as part of new changes in our marathon. There are several changes to the race this year like our new slogan.”
The historic changes extend to the athletes’ pockets as well.

Prize-money this year has been improved with the winners of the 42 kilometre main rain set to go home M120 000 richer.
It is the first time in the race’s 15 year history that the winner’s purse will exceed M100 000.
The runners up, meanwhile, will receive M80 000 while the third-place finishers will pocket M40 000.
Prizes have also been boosted for the 21 km half marathon with winners set to walk away with M20 000. Second and third place, for their part, will receive M12 000 and M8 000 while there are also cash rewards for the rest of the top 10 finishers.

Registrations for local and international athletes close on November 30 with athletes able to register online or at the LSRC’s offices.
“Registration fees vary depending on the category. There will be penalties for late registration,” Maphathe said.
“This year we will not be providing transport as it was usually done in previous years, however, we will provide accommodation.”

Organisers are expecting a large field for an event that has attracted more international athletes over the years thanks to its unique setting.
The marathon was first run in 2003 as the “Mokhotlong City Marathon”. It started as a 32.2km race and was the brainchild of Kokolia Mokonyana, the secretary general of the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) at the time.

The event’s name has since changed to the “High Altitude Summer Marathon” and so has the race’s format with the distance extending from 32.2km to 42.2km while 21.1km and 10km races were also added as developmental races.

Last year the 42km main race was won by Lebenya Nkoka in the men’s category while ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka took the women’s crown.
The 2018 course will again take its runners through Mokhotlong’s picturesque villages and unique mountain views.
And, once again, Lesotho’s athletes will battle it out with international runners to keep the High Altitude Summer Marathon title in the Mountain Kingdom.

2018 High Altitude Summer Marathon prizes.
1st – M120 000
2nd – M80 000
3rd – M40 000

1st – M20 000
2nd – M12 000
3rd – M8 000

1st – M12 000
2nd – M8 000
3rd – M6 000

Nkheli Liphoto

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