'We apologise and take full responsibility' - Soweto Marathon Organisers tackle t-shirt & medal mess
After the success of signing a sponsor at the eleventh hour, organisers of the 2023 African Bank Soweto Marathon are reflecting on the 28th edition of the race. Roughly 21 000 runners and walkers having lined up at Soccer City to take on the 42km, 21km and 10km events on Sunday 5 November, many of whom reported a positive experience of adequately stocked refreshment stations, good marshalling and unrivalled support from the thousands of Sowetans who came out to cheer on the runners. But there is room for improvement, in particular some participants were incorrectly seeded, while many others found that they did not receive the correct t-shirt size or simply did not receive the t-shirts at all.
"There have been some glitches here and there which we are currently trying to address. The burning issue is that of the t-shirts," said the Soweto Marathon Trust's Thokozani Mazibuko after the race. "We will not shy away from them. We will try to find a solution. We had a challenge with our t-shirt supplier. I have been speaking some of the runners. I'm not going to run away from them. I'll give them a proper plan on how we intend to address the issue."
Mazibuko who is a key member of the new-look Soweto Marathon Trust (SMT) board, was alongside Thulani Sibisi instrumental in making sure that the race went ahead in the first place as in-fighting within the SMT cast doubt on whether or not the 2023 edition of The People's Race would go ahead. With the dust having settled, he says their immediate priority is to do right by runners and deliver on what they promised.
"We would like to apologise to the athletics family at large and take full responsibility of what happened. We have dealt with such problems before and we have honoured our promises. This time is no different. We will honour our promises. We will try and rectify it accordingly," Mazibuko explained.
As of this morning (7 November, 2023) organisers have sent out emails to runners who have queries about their t-shirts and/or medals as reports also surfaced that some 10km competitors did not get their medals as they crossed the finish line. The SMT are asking runners to respond to the emails sent today by Monday 13 November at the latest in effort to correct the state of affairs as soon as possible. Anyone with a query that did not receive an email today is asked to contact the race office immediately by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org