MASERU — Long-distance runner Nkhabutlane Motlokoa has blamed muscle cramps for scuttling his chance of winning Botswana’s First Takalane Gaborone Marathon on Sunday.
Motlokoa, who last week had vowed to win the 42.2km marathon, could only finish third behind fellow Mosotho Tiisetso Ramokheseng.
The race was won by Kenyan Simon Njoroge in 2:15:49s.
Ramokheseng was second in 2:16:19 while Motlokoa clocked 2:19:11.
The two were part of Lesotho’s 13-strong contingent in the marathon.
Motlokoa told the Lesotho Times he could have won the race had he not suffered muscle cramps about 10km from the finishing line.
“I had everything under control from the beginning up to the 32km mark where I started experiencing some cramps,” he said.
“The three of us, the Kenyan, Tiisetso and I, were leading the race at this point.
“I saw a chance to win because by then it was clear one of us was going to win the race.
“But all hell broke loose when the cramps continued at the 34km mark and this time they were more painful.”
Lesotho Athletics Amateur Association (LAAA) spokesperson Sejanamane Maphathe said the association was nevertheless pleased with the performance of the athletes in Gaborone.
“That was a wonderful, stunning performance the boys displayed in Botswana,” Maphathe told the Lesotho Times.
“I must congratulate the boys because beating top athletes from countries like Ethiopia and Kenya is an achievement not only for them but for Lesotho as a country.”
The first Takalane Gaborone Marathon was part of the LAAA’s preparation for the Commonwealth Games, set for New Delhi, India, in October.