As the Diacore Gaborone Marathon (DGM) continues to grow in leaps and bounds, exciting changes are equally galore. This year the marathon organisers have put a P1 million price tag for the winner of the 42.2km race. The condition is that any runner who finishes within 2 hours and 8 minutes will get the heavy payout. The aim of this unprecedented move by DGM organisers is to draw the world’s fastest runners to the event. DGM spokesperson Thabo Makgato said they are now moving to make the event an international event. Makgato believe that with the hiked price money many international runners will like to take part in the race. “This marathon has been growing every year and the huge numbers of locals that take part in it are evident to this growth. We, however, now want to take this race to the international world and attract even more runners,” he said. With the time set at 2 hours 8 minutes for one to win the P1 million, Makgato believes that this will improve competitiveness during the race. He said this will make runners to work hard in a pursuit to win the money. ‘The 1 Million Pula Challenge’ as Makgato calls it will apply to both the 42,2km male and female runners with only one taking away the price. “In the case of two or more runners breaking into the set time only the one with the fastest time will get the price,” he explained.
He said other prices will also be paid out as well regardless of the P1 million price. Makgato said even when no one finishes within the set time they will still get prices but not the P1 million. With the enticing price money for the 2018 marathon, organisers are optimistic that a good number of professional runners will come to Botswana for this race. Makgato said they are aiming to get as many international runners as possible. He said with more international runners coming into Botswana, the country will benefit massively. He said the marathon might help to boost the tourism sector through sport tourism. Makgato said they are happy as organisers of the marathon at how it has been growing in leaps and bounds to achieve its intended course. Locally the marathon has made a great impact in the development of local runners. In August 2016 DGM organisers started an athlete development programme aimed at improving long distance runners in the country. Under this programme, 10 long distance runners had been put in camp to undergo a high level training formulated by elite coaches. The team has been doing very well in local and international competitions recently. The target for this elite group of runners is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.