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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Prize money more than doubles as top runners take aim at Makoro Village Marathon

Growing up in the village Molepo Ga-Mamatsa in rural Limpopo, a young John Mpe observed how difficult it was for villages to travel to the cities or townships to experience activities or events that took place there. He resolved to make a difference when he got the opportunity to do so and with that the Makoro Village Marathon was born, the brainchild of the Makoro John Mpe Foundation.

"I had always wanted to celebrate my birthday with the people of my own village as I am a firm believer that a child is born from his parents but raised by the village. So we came up with this race which will also stimulate local economic development activities as small businesses are always invited to sell their mini stock in the form of nuts, chips, sweets, wors rolls, plates, ice blocks, etc to help them to put food on their tables," he told #TheTopRunner ahead of the race which takes place at the Molepo Dam, Ga-Molepo on the 23rd of March.

Executive Mayor of the City of Polokwane and Founder of the Makoro John Mpe Foundation Cllr Makoro John Mpe says hosting this race has been a dream of his since childhood to bring quality lifestyle and fitness events to the village. Photo Credit: Supplied.

The concept was an instant hit. Starting with just a few runners tackling a half marathon in 2021, the event has grown notably. Last year the race which comprises of a standard marathon officially recognised as a Comrades Marathon qualifier, attracted 1600 participants from across Limpopo and it’s surrounding provinces. Aside from the social runners, the Makoro Village Marathon has also begun to draw interest from top runners. Recognising that, organisers have decided to increase the prize money on offer to cater to the growing number of elite competitors.

"We have increased the prize money to attract more elite runners. We are firm believers that while these marathons will not make anyone richer, they can still make a significant improvement to their livelihoods. So as a few more sponsors came on board, we thought let’s also improve the life of a runner." The result is that the winner of the 42,2km race will now walk away with a handsome R25 000 as opposed to R10 000 under the old prize money schedule.

Ultimately though, the race will be dominated by those hoping to use the event to qualify for South Africa’s big ultra marathons or as an opportunity to see what this picturesque corner of Limpopo has to offer. The Executive Mayor of the City of Polokwane Cllr Makoro John Mpe is calling on runners from Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the North West Province in particular to come and experience Limpopo like never before.

"We want people to experience the beauty of this village marathon, the mountains of Ga-Molepo, the rich history of the village that’s untold, and the benefits of just entering this beautiful marathon. The race offers the best views you could ever expect in the village, the hospitality of villagers cheering runners on the route is one of a kind, and because it’s in Limpopo the race is full of fruity refreshment stations in all our water points."

Click on the following link to register;

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