THE half-packed old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Limpopo, erupted when 28-year old Mapoto Rutendo crossed the line to win the 42,2 km mayoral marathon on Saturday.
Rutendo pocketed R10 000 in prize money after showing Pule Maeko and Lucas Raserushe a clean pair of running shoes.
Maeko and Raserushe came second and third, and pocketed R8 000 and R6 000 respectively.
Today’s mayoral race was in its fifth year since the Polokwane municipality partnered with Athletics South Africa in 2012.
The win has boosted Rutendo’s confidence in his endeavour to become a household name in the world of athletics.
He started running in 2007 but took the sport as a long-term career on 2017. However, he is finding it difficult to take his career to the next level because of lack of sponsorship.
“The challenges that I am currently facing are lack of sponsors, supplements and money to go to racing events as I am currently unemployed,” said Rutendo, who now relies on the sport for survival after dropping out of Grade 11 in 2012.
Polokwane executive mayor Thembi Nkadimeng told African Times that the event was aimed at empowering amateur athletes in the province.
“This fun race aims to encourage people who are not actually professionals to be involved in sport despite their age and disability,” she said.