- Inaugural FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon to be the first that athletes will compete in after 24 months
- The marathon celebrates the civil engineering masterpiece that is Kazungula Bridge
- Kazungula Bridge straddles unique international nexus of four countries
The last time that a marathon was staged in Botswana was in late 2019 before the advent of COVID-19. After a halt of over 24 months which was mainly meant to curb the spread of the pandemic, marathons can now be held
The first one will be the FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon on Saturday 26 February 2022 in Kasane/Kazungula, Chobe District. “We have not been sanctioning marathons because they entail athletes congesting at the start,” said Theetso. “But now since the pandemic is a bit under control and people are vaccinating, we have sanctioned yet the FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon as the first of many. We are happy that athletes will finally be able to compete and earn a living because most of the local road runners make money from marathons.”
Sylvester Koko, an athlete who mostly runs in 10km marathons, told The Business Weekly Sports that he is glad that he is finally going to run a marathon race once again after a wait of over two years.
“But it is going to be difficult for us athletes as we have not been competing for a very long time,” Koko said. “We are going to push hard as we mostly make money through marathons and we really need to do well because it has been difficult for us financially due to the absence of marathons.”
He added that his preparations for the FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon are going well. “I have been doing well in training and my times are quite convincing,” he said. This is the athlete that attained first position in the last 1okm marathon in 2019, The Botswana Life Marathon.
The FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon is the brainchild of CEO and Founder of Obert Fitness (Pty) Ltd, Obert Morgan. According to a statement from organisers the FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon recently, the marathon will be an annual race that they wish to position as an international event to attract world-class athletes and fun runners to Botswana.
“It is being coordinated in line with regional and continental marathons such as the Comrades Marathon, Two Oceans, and the Soweto Marathon,” says the statement. “We would like for the FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon to be a qualifier for other World Athletics Events.”
According to the statement, the FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon also aims to celebrate the iconic Kazungula Bridge as a magnificent superstructure of civil engineering and tourist attraction, as well as shine the spotlight on the unique cardinal point where four countries – Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet on the majestic Chobe and Zambezi Rivers.
The statement says the FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon is recognised by the Botswana National Sports Commission’s (BNSC) athletics affiliate, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA). “A submission has been made to the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) for accreditation and recognition of the FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon,” it says. “A Certificate of Accreditation is expected any time soon.”
The marathon is sponsored by FNB, Mascom, Coca Cola, Botswana Tourism, HATAB, Kwa Nokeng Oil and Spar, among others.
Meanwhile, the organisers say winners in the 42.2 race marathon will pocket P50 000, the runners-up P22 000, third-spot finishers P18 000, fourth position finishers P15 000 and fifth-place finishers P10 000. Athletes finishing in the top 10 positions will also be rewarded with cash prizes. Inside this marathon a 42.2km race for veteran men and women, a 21km race for senior men and women, a 10km race for senior and junior women, a 10km race for senior and junior men. There is also a 5km fun race.