MASERU — Eleven local athletes leave today for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday.
They are Lebenya Nkoka, Warinyane Lebopo, Mabuthile Lebopo, Teboho Sello, Mpesela Ntlotsoeu, Lebohang Mahloane, Moeketsi Mosuhli, Lebohang Monyela, Mamoroallo Tjoka and Tsotang Maine.
Winners in the men and women’s 56 kilometres races will pocket a whopping M250 000 in prize money, up from M150 000 last year.
First and second runner-ups in both categories will each go home M125 000 and M65 000 richer respectively.
Nkoka told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that he was prepared to “conquer” the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.
“I have never won the Two Oceans marathon and I am looking forward to adding this year’s title to my many collections,” the 2010 Soweto Marathon winner said.
Nkoka said he started preparing for this competition in January by running at least 40 kilometres every day.
“I have been working hard to ensure that I bring this year’s gold medal home,” he said.
He added that the ultra-marathon is a difficult race to win because of the extra 14 kilometres. A normal marathon race is 42 kilometres.
“This is not just about me but we are all going there to represent the country and bring home the top prize,” Nkoka said.
Lesotho has for the past 10 years dominated South African marathons and they want to maintain their dominance in the neighbouring country.
“We want to maintain our dominance in South African races, hence we always make sure that we prepare and support each other through preparations and during the actual race,” Nkoka said.
Local athletes have become known as “the bunch of Lesotho” by South African media for their dominance in that country’s marathons over the past years.