Runners from all walks of life braved the wet weather on Saturday to take part in the historic race of the Capricorn District Marathon which rose to its billing as South Africans gathered for a memorable day.
In the early hours of morning, close to 2,000 runners lit up Rugby Field in Polokwane with their colourful running gear and shoes. When the gunshot ran for the four categories of 5, 10, 21 and 42kms, runners spread out onto their routes heading east of Polokwane. Majority of men and women, some from across beyond the borders of South Africa eyed the R50 000 grand prize while most from within the country were in the race for the experience and to embrace social cohesion and healthy lifestyle. A runner from Kenya in green gear in men’s 42km set the pace for the race with some athleticism and exuberance but the question from fellow runners, spectators and marshals was how long was he going to hold on.
With cool and ambient weather giving the race a nod, stronger athletes showed their true character and alternated a lead along the route. Polokwane residents and motorists lined up the streets to cheer the runners. “A re vayeng bafwethu” (Let’s go gents), shouted one motorist on Suid street as runners negotiated a steep towards Flora Park. Then a loud cheer at the Field urged the frontrunners as they edged towards the finish line. Kenyan Moses Kurgat stepped up and emerged through the track to win the 42km men’s race at just 02:23:01. He took home a staggering R20 000 cash prize, a gold medal and other goodies. He shared the stage with a fellow Kenyan national, Beryl Mokokha who won the 42km women’s race at 03:10:06.
Executive Mayor John Mpe did a 10km race with Molemole Mayor Edward Paya while MEC’s Phophi Ramathuba and Onicca Moloi did a 5km race. Mpe thanked all runners who rose to the occasion to take part in the marathon. “Everyone who participated is a winner”, Executive Mayor said.