Karatu Hotels overbooked ahead of Ngorongoro Half Marathon

19Apr 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Karatu Hotels overbooked ahead of Ngorongoro Half Marathon

ALL roads are currently leading to Karatu, Arusha where Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kigwangalla, is expected to grace this year’s Ngorongoro Half Marathon, slated for Saturday. 

The minister is also set to run a section of the race, just as he did during the last year event.

According to organizers, more than 1000 athletes will participate in the Ngorongoro Half Marathon which gets flagged off from the Loduare Gate in Ngorongoro, covering 21 kilometers down to Karatu, passing through the town and on to Rotia Hill then turn back to Karatu again, where the finishing point is erected at Mazingira Bora grounds.

Anybody planning to stay in Karatu this weekend should better seek alternative abode because the 2019 instalment of Ngorongoro Half Marathon has filled the town’s hotels and lodges with guests, officials and athletes.

For the main 21 kilometers’ race, the winners stand to get 1m/- in prizes for both men and women categories. The first runners-up are to be awarded 500,000/- apiece while the two third placed athletes will receive 300,000/- apiece.

Organized by Meta Sports Promotion, the race is sponsored by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority and as usual, targets to promote tourism attractions in Ngorongoro including Olduvai Gorge, Laetoli, the Crater as well as the war against poaching and illegal harvesting of natural resource. 

Meta Petro, an official from Athletics Tanzania (AT) who is also the race coordinator, said preparations for the race, which will be flagged off at 6.00am on Saturday by the minister, are ready. 

On his part, Alfred Shahanga, the secretary general of Arusha Athletics Association, said the Ngorongoro Half Marathon also aims at identifying and recruiting the sport’s new talents, who are going to compete leg-by-leg with professionals as well as other runners from neighbouring countries.

During the last year’s Ngorongoro Half Marathon, Kenyans topped the race in the form of Joseph Mbatha, who won the race having registered an hour, four minutes and 54 seconds. He however did not beat the 2017’s first winner, Faraja Lazaro (JKT), who clocked one hour, three minutes and 42 seconds.

Another Kenyan, Bernard Mussa (1:05:09), completed the race in the second position. Paschal Mombo from Hanang’ (1:06:05), who finished third, was the only Tanzanian runner who made it to the top three.

Even in the ladies’ category, it was Monica Cheruto from Kenya (1:18:07), who topped the bill last year, followed by Tanzanians, Failuna Abdi (1:18:20) in the second position and Fadhila Salumu (1:19:58) in the third position.