Johannesburg - There was excitement galore in the running fraternity following the announcement that the People’s Race, the Soweto Marathon, will take place this year on November 6.
Entries are due to open on May 27. Arguably one of the toughest races in the country, the Soweto Marathon nevertheless remains a popular race.
I’ve run the full distance twice and I can safely say that – after the Comrades Marathon – it has the greatest vibe on the route.
The support from the community of all the Soweto townships we run through is incredible.
There are the inebriated Friday night revellers making their way home from taverns early in the morning offering you a sip from their Carling Black Label quart.
Then there’s the old mamas in uniform clutching handbags and Bibles en route to church who offer prayers for a safe run.
The kids who fancy themselves as runners and often join us for a few metres always help uplift spirits when the going gets tough.
The Soweto Marathon should be much bigger and a more exciting race than it currently is. For Pete’s sakes it is the kind of event that should be chasing a billing as big as a silver if not gold label race.
But the men and women tasked with running the event – the Soweto Marathon Trust – don’t seem to realise what they’ve got in their hands, and are failing to attract a proper sponsorship for the event.
Granted we are going through a very difficult time financially. But you cannot tell me that there isn’t a corporate that wouldn’t want to be associated with an event of the Soweto Marathon’s magnitude.
It could well be that something is amiss at the Soweto Marathon Trust, that its officials are just not savvy enough to sell the event to corporates.
A little birdie has whispered to me that there’s division among members of the Trust and that most of them are in the dark as to the goings-on regarding the race.
It is said that they have no clue as to how much money Soweto Marathon is set to get from the recent broadcast sponsorship from SuperSport secured by Athletics South Africa (ASA). A strange situation given that the ASA president James Moloi is a member of the Trust and you’d have thought he had seen the need to share such information with his fellow trustees. That though is for them to sort out.
What I wish is for the Soweto Marathon to secure a quality sponsor that will help see the race becoming better run, growing its international appeal, and rivalling the likes of Cape Town Marathon as an event.