History was made at the 25th Rössing Marathon National Championship in Swakopmund when, for the first time in the quarter-of-a-century long history of the event, a husband and wife managed to win both the Marathon Open Men's and Ladies categories. Reonard Namupala and Alina Armas-Namupala were also defending champions at this year's event, which took place in the 40th anniversary year of production at Rössing Uranium Mine.
Reonard and Alina's winning times were 2:22:04 and 2:41:11 respectively, with Alina registering an amazing fourth consecutive win. Both of these national champions ran in the colours of the Namibia Defence Force sport club. Reonard indicated after his second consecutive Rössing Marathon win that he will next take part in Botswana, during the Gaborone Marathon, and will then set his eyes on a European event in an effort to try and qualify for the Olympic Games later this year. He added that: "It was a great feeling to win on the same day as my wife. This is the perfect Valentine's Day gift for us. We both love taking part in the Rössing Marathon and thank our coaches for helping us prepare adequately to be competitive once again."
In the Marathon Men's Open, Simon Shipingana (2:22:59) finished second and Mynhardt Kauanivi (2:23:33) third. The Marathon Ladies Open second place winner was Leena Ekandjo (2:42:16) while Ottilie Aimwata (3:07:29) came in third.
The Namibian Police's sport club dominated in the 10km Run, with the young Jeremia Shaliaxwe winning in 29:19, followed by Gabriel Shiimi (29:19) also from Nampol and Stephanus Kauadinge in third, with a time of 29:20.
In the 10km Run Ladies Open it was the in-form Beata Naigambo of Nampol who triumphed in 32:47, followed by Lavinia Haitopi (33:00) also from Nampol, and Helalia Johannes of the NDF in third with a time 33:29.
The Uranium Relay over ten kilometres, an event open to uranium companies in the Erongo Region, was won for the second year in a row by the team from Rössing Uranium Mine. Swakop Uranium followed in second place.
A record number of 94 marathon athletes entered this year, with 245 entries in the 10km Run - also a new record - and around 170 fun walkers took part in the 5km Fun Walk in aid of the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN). Close to N$6 000 was donated by the fun walkers to the CAN for the fight against cancer in Namibia.
The winners of the open categories received prizes worth over N$60 000, which included N$10 000 cash each and an additional N$20 000 development bonus for the men's and ladies' marathon winners. The development bonus is to help the winners further their careers throughout the year of their reign.
The theme for this year's Rössing Marathon was "Live well, Be well". Athletics Namibia President, Alna Similo, was the guest of honour at this year's milestone event and praised the organisers for a well-run championship. She said: "I am very impressed with the turn-out and the overall staging of the event. It is only with sponsorships such as Rössing's hosting of the national marathon championship for 25 consecutive years already, that we can give our Namibian athletes the support they need to not only participate internationally, but also be competitive and achieve success."
Werner Duvenhage, Rössing Uranium managing director said: "As a responsible corporate citizen, Rössing strives to create positive social impacts where we operate, helping to improve living standards, health and wellbeing, and education in our host communities. As part of the Rio Tinto Group, our approach aims to equip our partners to reap sustainable benefits during and beyond our operations. We congratulate the champions of today and undertake to host the event for the 26th consecutive time in 2017 again."
Rössing Uranium Limited
Private Bag 5005