R50000 prizes for best runners

THE first man and woman to cross the finish line at the South African Half-Marathon in Port Elizabeth on July 24 will each pocket R50000.

THE first man and woman to cross the finish line at the South African Half-Marathon in Port Elizabeth on July 24 will each pocket R50000.

The incentives are part of the R17million given to Athletics South Africa by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

The big-name runners who will be seen in action in Motherwell township include Norman Dlomo, Jeffrey Gwebu, George Mofokeng and Poppy Mlambo.

The organisers are putting up an extra R50000 for any runner who beats 1 hour 20 seconds in the men's section and 1:09.37 in the women's category.

The SA men's record has been intact since October 4 1997 when Hendrick Ramaala set it in Kosice, Slovakia. The women's national record of 1:09.37 was set by Elana Meyer in Tokyo, Japan. Besides the half-marathon, there will also be a 5km fun run.

Interim Athletics South Africa administrator Ray Mali also announced yesterday that the 10km championships will take place in Paarl, Western Cape, on August 14. The first man and woman in this event will also receive R50000 each.

In addition, the first South African male and female runner to beat 28:06 and 32:14 will each take home R50000.

The programme will start with a 10km wheelchair race at 8am, followed by the SA 10km Championships at 8.10am. A 5km fun run will take place from 8.40pm.

Mali said: "We are pleased to be supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund in striving to present quality events at which our athletes can perform."

ASA assistant administrator Richard Stander said: "The additional incentives offered have been worked on the times produced by the 50th fastest athlete on last year's IAAF rankings.

"This is a clear indication of how fast the world standard really is and we are pleased to encourage our runners to set career best times."

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