Johannesburg - Some of South Africa's top road runners have confirmed they will compete in the Soweto Marathon in November, after the race was relaunched on Tuesday.
The annual 42km event was cancelled last year, after stakeholders the Soweto Marathon Trust, Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) and Athletics South Africa (ASA), who were locked in a fight for the rights to host the event, failed to secure a sponsor.
However, Aleck Skhosana, the newly appointed ASA president, confirmed the race would be held on November 2 after apparel giants Nike signed a new deal as the naming rights sponsor.
“I'm very pleased a sponsor has come on board for this race, which is one of my favourite events on the calendar,” said two-time former women's champion Charne Bosman.
“It's a special race and the community always gives the runners tremendous support.”
Bosman was forced to withdraw from the Comrades Marathon last month due to illness, and she hoped to bounce back with a third career victory in the historic race.
“I was sick at Comrades, so I need a nice race to get something back for this year,” she said.
“There's enough time to prepare for it, so I'm excited.”
Meanwhile, former Comrades winner Ludwick Mamabolo was confident South African athletes would be able to regain control from the foreign contingent, who have dominated the race in recent years.
“This race is well respected and I'm pleased to take part. Hopefully I'll be able to do well,” Mamabolo said.
“I always race to win, and the other South African guys are the same, so we will give the foreign men a hard time.”