MASERU — A record 24 international athletes have registered to take part in next month’s High Altitude Summer Marathon in Mokhotlong, the Lesotho Times heard this week.
The Lesotho Athletes Amateur Association (LAAA) public relations officer, Sejanamane Maphathe, said this was the highest number of international athletes who had registered to participate in the competition since it began in 2003.
“There are 500 athletes who have registered for this year’s summer marathon and out of these, 24 are foreigners,” Maphathe said.
The marathon, which is being bankrolled to the tune of M1 million by Letšeng Diamonds, is due to take place on December 3 in Mokhotlong.
Registration closed on Monday.
Maphathe said some of the athletes who had shown an interest in the race were from neighbours South Africa, Zimbabwe with some coming as far afield as the United States.
He said the huge interest in the marathon began after Letšeng Diamonds upped the sponsorship package to a staggering M1 million in 2009.
The contract between Letšeng Diamonds and the Ministry of Sports, who are partners in organising the event, ends this year and the two are yet to hold negotiations to discuss the possibility of renewing it.
Meanwhile, Maphathe said preparations for the marathon were at an advanced stage with volunteers already recruited.
“The preparations are going on well and are at an advanced stage as we speak,” he said.
“We have already identified and registered volunteers. We are also going to hold a referees’ workshop on November 19 here in Maseru and things are really looking good.”