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Two Countries Marathon celebrate 20 years

THE annual  Two Countries Marathon this year will be in a celebratory mood as its 20th edition takes place tomorrow in Musina, Limpopo.

Apart from the historic anniversary moment, race is famous for its special element of being run through an international border. It scheduled to start at 6am in Beitbridge town in Zimbabwe, crosses the Beit Bridge border post and finishes at the sports grounds of Eric Louw High School in Musina.

Two Countries is the brainchild of Conrad Stolz, a former teacher at Eric Louw High, and has successfully taken place since 1997. Today the Musina municipality has joined business in the border town to offer sponsorship and technical to the race.

Over the years the event had incorporated the half-marathon, 10km race and 5km fun run. The shorter distance runs tomorrow will all start and finish at Eric Louw. The entries for these, according to organiers Soutpansberg Athletics Club, will remain open until 5am on race day.

Entries for the main 42.2km have already closed as the marathon is a pre-entry event. For the past seven years one man – Nkosiyazi Sibanda – has won the males category. It was not clear earlier this week if the 36-year-old Zimbabwean would return to defend his title again. However Sibanda had a busy year challenging for honours in Zimbabwe, including Vic Falls Marathon in June and Beitbridge Mayor’s halfmarathon in July.

The Two Countries has over the years been dominated by Zimbabwean runners in both the men’s and women’s races and will take a real shock for South Africans to win tomorrow.

Though cloudy conditions are expected to prevail in both Beitbridge and Musina tomorrow, there will be no escaping hot conditions as maximum temperatures are predicted to reach 33 °C. – Tumo Mokone

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