Tone deaf Soweto Marathon organisers dismiss SA athlete pleas for bigger incentives

athletes in action during a marathon going through a residential area

File pic.Adele Broodryk believes South African runners would do better at the Soweto Marathon if the race organisers were to introduce a bonus incentive for the best local performers. Picture: Debbie Yazbek

Published Nov 7, 2022

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Johannesburg - Adele Broodryk believes South African runners would do better at the Soweto Marathon if the race organisers were to introduce a bonus incentive for the best local performers at the event.

The Murray & Roberts starlet was speaking at the post race media conference of the 27th edition of the People's Race deep in the bowels of the FNB Stadium on Sunday.

The only South African woman in the top 10 following her ninth place finish, Broodryk said while she appreciates the presence of foreign runners in the race because it pushed South Africans to up their game, she believes a bonus scheme similar to the one at the Comrades Marathon would come in handy as extra motivation.

"It would be great to have something for the best or even top three South Africans in the race," said the athlete who was making her debut in the race.

"I remember that when I ran Comrades and the foreign girls went past me, I was motivated to keep going because of the knowledge that there was reward for being the best South African..”

Broodryk finished third at the world famous  KwaZulu/Natal ultra, but was the best local female runner and was handsomely rewarded for her efforts.

But her dream could well remain just that if the words of Soweto Marathon Trust Chairman Sello Khunou are anything to go by.

Speaking at the same conference, Khunou said he does not understand why the local runners cannot train on the route to ensure they have the advantage over the foreigners.

"They have the route available and I think they should make time to do time trials there so they can have an advantage.”

Khunou had said prior to the race that he didn't believe introducing an incentive was the way to go.

"They must win the race first and maybe we can consider doing that.”

But Entsika Athletic Club's Ntsindiso Mphakathi who was once again the best male South African with a fifth place finish following his eighth placing back in 2019, said the chairman spoke of time trials on the route because he was not an athlete.

"You can't just do time trials on the route. I have my way of preparing the race.”

The race was dominated by Ethiopians with the women filling all three podium positions, while the men finished one and two with a Lesotho runner coming in at third place.

Dana Ifa Debele won the race in 2:18:58 followed by Gabisa Debele Gutam in 2:19:27.

Tshepo Ramashamole was third in 2:20:21, some 21 seconds ahead of four-time champion Sintayehu Legese.

In the women's race, the absence of defending champion Irvette Van Zyl who won the previous three editions opened the way for an Ethiopian clean sweep of the podium.

Chaltu Bedo Nagashu won the women's race in 2:40:56 ahead of Amelework Fikadu Bosho by 18 seconds while Tinabebe Nibiyu Ali was third in a time 2:44:32.

@Tshiliboy

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