Loskop Marathon Series takes centre stage this weekend

Athletes at the start of the Loskop Marathon Series last year.

Hundreds of athletes from all over the world are expected to descend at Middelburg on Saturday to participate in the annual held Forever Resorts Loskop Marathon Series.

The 50km and 21.1km Wild Challenge, which is presented by the Middelburg Marathon Club, will start at 06:00 and 06:30 in Middelburg, respectively.

Josiah Thugwane, the first black South Africans to wins an Olympic gold medal in Atlanta in 1996 is a record holder for the 50km race in men. He recorded a time of 02:44:03 in 2005.

Charles Tjane winner of last year Loskop Marathon Series 50km in the men category.

Thabita Tsatsa holds the women record with time of 03:14:37, she recorded in 2012.
The organisers say though due to the extensive road upgrading the route elevation has changed and therefore the old route records are not applicable anymore.

But a time and incentive bonus will be used this year and will be paid to the first athlete per category to finish within the set time.

Yolande MaClean winner of last year Loskop Marathon Series in the women category.

The first athletes to chest breath the finish lines in both male and female category in the 50km race will each pocket R10 000, while the runners-up will walkaway with R8 000 and third finishers will receive R6 000.
In the 21.1km races, the first finishers will receive R3 000, while second place finishers will pocket R1 500 and third finishers consoled with R1 000.

All the category winners receive a floating trophy, awarded with a miniature collectable trophy.

Charles Soza came second during last year’s Loskop Marathon Series.

Meanwhile, the Mpumalanga department of culture, sport and recreation will send a strong contingent of athletes, who will be running under the banner of the department, to compete in the races. In total there will be 190 athletes running under the department banner.
Sibongile Nkosi, the department spokesman said the number is made up of 100 school-going athletes and 90 out of school athletes.

Ezbe Strydom came second in the women race during last year’s 50km’ Loskom Marathon Series.

We have recruited first time participants who have shown an interest in road running. We are helping athletes with registration, transport and accommodation for the race,” explains the spokesperson for the department,” said Nkosi.
She said the exercise was designed to develop road-running interest in the community.

“South Africa has a problem of obesity and as a department we are using the race to promote healthy lifestyle by providing a platform to those who are keen to take up road running,” she said, adding that the athletes would take part in the 21 kilometers race, which is run inside Loskopdam Resort.

Raymond Phaladi came third during last year’s Loskop Marathon Series in the 50km.

Nkosi said the plan is to give the athletes a push and hopefully in the future they would graduate to participate in the ultra-marathon, which starts from Middelburg to the resort covering 50 kilometres.
“We want to emphasize that the department does not assist well established athletes, who would like to participate in the 50km,” she concluded.
The department also has a water-point at the 18-kilometre mark, which is situated next to Doornkoop and draws hundreds of locals who line up the streets to support the athletes.

The water point that was set by the Mpumalanga department of culture, sport and recreation during the Loskop Marathon Series last year.

Richard Nkosi

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