- As he wins the men’s 42km race
- Pockets P25 000 in process
Local long distance sensation Rapula Diphoko has become the second local athlete to claim the 42.2km of the Orange Phikwe National Marathon ever since the race was adopted by the mobile network company in 2016.
Prior to the race which was held in Selibe Phikwe over the weekend, Kabo Jenamo was the only local athlete to have won the marathon men’s 42.2km race under the sponsorship of Orange. He did so in 2016 and this was also the year that Orange started sponsoring the marathon.
Since then, the race was dominated by Zimbabwe’s long distance runner in Nkosiyazi Sibanda who won the race in 2017 and 2018. However, the case was not to be for Sibanda this year as he finished in the seventh position only for the marathon to be claimed by Diphoko who finished first in 2: 24:07. He was awarded with P 25 000 for his exploits.
Speaking to Gazette Sport after his race, Diphoko noted that he is happy to have finally won the marathon because he has been struggling to do well over the previous years as he did not know how to prepare for marathons. “I only learnt how to prepare for marathons last year and that is after I finished second in this race,” he said. “ I then figured out I ought to correct a few things. I started working hard in training by doing long runs and hill training.”
He went on to note that he endured a lot of pain in training as he had to at least run 50km a week. “ And I also took part in a few half marathons which I think also worked of advantage to me by sharpening my endurance and speed. I came to this race fearing no one; even the foreign athletes. I told my self that they are ordinary athletes just like me,” he highlighted.
Further, Diphoko told this publication that he is worried by the fact that in most cases he seems to be the only local athlete who does well in marathons. He urged his compatriots to start working together as that’s the only way that they can perform better. “ The Kenyans and other international athletes work together and advice each other during the race, “ he noted. “ That is why they always perform better than us. If we are to end their dominance we have to start working together.”
Diphoko was followed by Isaac Kigen in the second position while Lyno Muchena finished in the third position. Monicah Jepkokir on the hand managed to defend her title in the ladies category after finishing first in 3:03:34 with Leena Ekandjo settling for the second position whereas Ottilie Kaunap finished in the third position.