Johannesburg – Preparations for the 2013 Soweto Marathon are under way.
A task team established by Gauteng Sport, Art, Culture and Recreation MEC Lebogang Maile is working around the clock to rescue the race.
The team, consisting of Central Gauteng Athletics and City of Joburg representatives, is expected to announce a budget for the race. The race is due to take place on November 3.
Last month, The Star reported that the marathon had been cancelled after the Soweto Marathon Trust failed to raise a minimum budget of R5 million.
“We take a little bit of solace in knowing that we did everything in our powers to try to save the race, but unfortunately, without co-operation from Athletics South Africa, our efforts proved unsuccessful,” trust chairman Sello Khunou said at the time.
The race has been without sponsorship for almost three years.
First, Nedbank pulled out, then Athletics South Africa followed last year.
The Soweto Marathon Trust, which was established this year by athletics clubs in Soweto, had been in talks with possible funders since the beginning of the year.
On Thursday, trust spokesman Banele Sindani said they were not aware the provincial government had come forward to assist.
“It is fine if they are going ahead with the race. We have been left out of these talks,” said Sindani.
Central Gauteng Athletics spokesman Mandla Radebe said they were still in talks with stakeholders and the department.
Maile’s spokeswoman, Nino Zama, said they were appealing to sponsors to come on board.
“The department was able to contribute R800 000 to assist with the race. The money isn’t enough at the moment. We are appealing to stakeholders to come forward and assist,” said Zama.
She said several meeting were to take place in the coming weeks to decide on more detailed issues such as the prize money, the route and other issues surrounding the race.
“All we know currently is that City of Joburg will offer Joint Operation Services. This include emergency services and security,” said Zama.
Entries for the race, known as “The People’s Race”, are open until October 27.
The race includes a 42.2 km race, a 10km race and the 5km fun run.