ALL roads lead to Mokhotlong this Saturday for the 2018 High Altitude Summer Marathon as local and international athletes vie for the M120 000 first prize in both the male and female categories of the main race.
The Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) is heading into its second year since taking over full control of the annual race and the event will for the first time this year include the 10km race meant for young athletes.
They have also increased the prizes for the main race in the 42, 2 km that will see winners in the male and female categories walk away with M120 000 each from an initial M100 000.
LSRC operations manager Liteboho Malataliana told this publication that they are ready for the country’s biggest race.
He said they have addressed all the concerns of the athletes such as accommodation as well as transportation to and from Mokhotlong.
“All the preparations for the race have gone well and we are just doing the final touches ensure that everything is in place,” Malataliana said.
“We have addressed all the concerns of the athletes such as accommodation and transport. People from Mokhotlong have also come to the party and are ready to lease their houses at cheaper prices to accommodate the masses that will be in their district.”
Meanwhile, the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) public relations officer, Sejanamane Maphathe, told the Lesotho Times that they are expecting over four hundred athletes to compete in different categories of the race.
He said that they are also expecting a huge number of Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes for the race.
However, Maphathe said he was still unsure whether or not Lebenya Nkoka and Mamoroallo Tjoka will be in Mokhotlong on Saturday to defend their titles in their respective male and female categories.
“Everything has gone well regarding the preparations and we already over 400 athletes registered but the number could increase as registration in Mokhotlong is open until late on Friday (tomorrow).
“But I can tell you that we already some of the best local runners registered for the race though they have not yet indicated as to which category they will compete in.
“The interest is also big from athletes coming from other countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia. We have 13 athletes from Ethiopia and seven from Kenya and it shows that stakes will be high on Saturday because they are the two most competent countries when it comes to athletics.
“Our task is to see this race growing and matching standards of South African races such as the Two Oceans Marathon and others.
“The prize that is being offered is already in that region and we are confident it will continue to grow.
“It’s also important that the local runners rise to the occasion on the day and ensure that the title remains at home because it will be good for sponsorship purposes,” Maphathe said.