THABAZIMBI — The annual Marakele Marathon, hosted by Marakele National Park nearby Thabazimbi, was held on Saturday 2 March 2019. The run celebrates a different animal of the big 5 each year, this year being the Year of the Rhino.
Runners that chose to camp in the park on Friday night were lucky enough to be welcomed to a Rhino grazing just meters away from the camp sites and even wandering into the camp terrain. This sight was a welcome and suitable start to the race experience.
The Marakele Marathon is a unique experience with a large portion of the longer race distances taking place in a big 5 area with many rangers patrolling the roads to protect the runners from the various predators and other wildlife. The area is also well known for its unforgiving hills on the longer distances, climbing over 700 m in just 13 km.
Many athletes from Lephalale and surrounding areas competed in the various distances of 42, 21, 10 and 5 km.
Local runners of note were: Marcia Magagula (2nd Veteran 42 km), Tshepo Maela (2nd 10 km) and Ronny Mpherwane (3rd 10 km).
The race was very well organised and even though it was an extremely hot day, the well stocked and supported refreshment stations helped the runners perform admirably in their respective categories.