In an attempt to produce the fastest times ever run on home soil, Athletics South Africa has offered the country’s elite athletes embarrassingly poor incentives for the SA 10km Championships in Mbombela next month.
Confirming the prize money and bonuses on offer for the annual road race, the federation revealed on Monday that R2 000 would be on offer to anyone who became only the second SA man to run under 28 minutes (28:00) and any woman who could break Elana Meyer’s long-standing national record of 31:13 over the 10km distance.
These bonuses were in addition to a prize purse of R80 000, with R5 000 going to the men’s and women’s national champions.
The federation, however, may have to take a back seat with elite athletes likely to be directing their attention to other road races over the next few weeks, where record times and gutsy performances will be far better rewarded.
In Durban this weekend, at the inaugural FNB CitySurfRun, organisers have offered R300 000 to any man who breaks Mokoka’s SA record of 27:38 and any woman who can eclipse Meyer’s 16-year-old mark.
In Joburg, at the final leg of the Spar Women’s Grand Prix series, the country’s elite women will be targeting big cash prizes, with Kesa Molotsane looking to pocket R173 000 for a series win.
In another clash that is likely to detract from the field in Mbombela, the lucrative Soweto Marathon programme in Gauteng includes a 10km race, to be held the day after the national championships.