Tjoka retains marathon title

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MASERU — Veteran athlete, ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka, retained her Mokhotlong High Altitude women’s marathon crown with a stunning performance on Saturday. Her display consolidated her reputation as one of the finest athletes in the region.
Tjoka has been prolific in recent years and the win was her second Mokhotlong High Altitude Summer Marathon win in a row. It came just a month after winning the prestigious Soweto Marathon in a record time of 2:43:40 hours.
Tjoka was joined on the podium by Lebohang Monyele, who won the men’s race, with each athlete taking home M50 000. But it was Tjoka’s imperious show of athleticism that wowed the crowd that included Foreign Affairs Minister Mohlabi Tsekoa, who presided over the race. Her poise and experience again showed as she outfoxed a field which also included competitors from Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. At an average altitude of 2 200 metres, the High Altitude Marathon is arguably the most challenging race in southern Africa. And what makes Tjoka’s victory all the more remarkable is that she only had three days to prepare for the race. “I had three days to prepare for this race due to a heel injury which I have been nursing since I took part in the Soweto Marathon,” Tjoka told the media after the race. Tjoka came ahead of two Zimbabwean sisters, Lizzy and Eliza Chikore, who came second and third respectively and won M30 000 and M15 000. “Now, I need to take a break for the festive season before making plans for next year,” Tjoka said. For the men’s winner Monyele it was a first major win. Monyele who came third in last year’s edition of the race took pole position from the halfway mark and then charged home, seeing off the challenge from the rest of the pack.

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