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High Altitude Summer Marathon in motion

Sept. 26, 2019 3 min read

MASERU – The prestigious Mokhotlong High Altitude Summer Marathon was this week launched by the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) despite doubts over financial backup.

LSRC public relations officer, Teboho Rakhomo, said government remained committed to ensuring the success of the annual event regardless of pronounced financial constraints. “Basically it is government that plans this event and hands it over to the LSRC for hosting and management of all logistical requirements,” Rakhomo pointed out.

He revealed they would at the earliest convenience appoint a local organising committee to prepare for the event and work on improving the general quality of this year’s edition of the grueling race.   The High-Altitude Summer Marathon started in 2003 under the sponsorship of the Letšeng Diamond Mine and government through the LSRC. 

“We urge the media to assist us in promoting the event and enticing international athletes to partake in this race,” Rakhomo said.  The race is broken down into four categories as follows: 5km, 10km, 21.1km (half marathon) and the 42.2 km (main race).   In the 5km race, local athletes’ registration is M20 and M50 for internationals. In the 10km, local athletes register with M20 and M150 for internationals, while the half marathon registration is M40 for locals and M175 for internationals.

In the main race, local athletes’ registration fee is M50 and M200 for international athletes. The Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA), which is responsible for the technical aspect of the race, used the launch to address a few technical aspects of the event. LAAA spokesperson, Sejanamane Maphathe, said the association had taken up to joining expos abroad to market the race.  “We held our first expo in April during the Two Oceans Marathon where the registration for this race commenced,” he said.  

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This year’s edition is penciled for Sunday December 1, changed to a Sunday which according to Maphathe has been done to accommodate working athletes – the race was previously held on Saturdays. According to Maphathe the High Altitude Summer Marathon prepares participating athletes for other races due to its unique caliber, noting that no athlete has ever clocked the time of 2:28:00 since its inception. This race was last year won by local athletes in both the male and female categories.  

In the male category, the 21.1km (half marathon) was won by Jobo Khatoane in a time of 1:06:55s while Teboho Noosi was crowned the winner in the 42.2km (main race) clocking 2:30:23s.  In the female category, the 21.1km (half marathon) was won by ’Neheng Khatala clocking 1:24:25s while the marathon Queen ’Mamoroallo Tjoka appeared victorious in 42.2 kilometers (main race) in a time of 3:18:59s.  There has not been any increase in prize money in this year’s edition.In the 5km race, the winner pockets M5, 000 while in the 10km the first prize is M12, 000. In the half marathon, the winner walks away with M20, 000 while the main race winner pockets M120, 000 in both the male and female categories.  

International athletes expected to grace the event will this year come from as far as the road-running nucleus, Kenya, while South African runners have become a regular feature – entries from other countries are also expected, according to LSRC development officer, ’Malitsietsi Zwakala.

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