Zimbabwe's long distance runner Gilbert Mutandiro leaves the country on Wednesday for South Africa ahead of a series of marathon races that start next Sunday.
The 28-year-old Kuwadzana-based athlete, who has a best record of 1hr 03min 02sec in the half marathon and a B Standard time of 2hrs 15min 16sec in the marathon (42km), will compete in three races.
The first race, which also happens to be the athlete's season opener, is the 25km PBCA race in Durban next Sunday, followed by the 21km McCarthy race taking place in Pretoria on February 9.
He will wind up his tour of SA with the Pick n Pay 21km half marathon on February 15 in Mpumalanga.
In an interview with Standardsport recently, Mutandiro said his tour to South Africa for the three competitions was meant to prepare him ahead of the prestigious Hong Kong Marathon.
"l am coming from the off-season, but l have been training very hard for these competitions. All the three races will be part of my preparations ahead of the Hong Kong Marathon that is scheduled for February 28," said Mutandiro.
Meanwhile, battle-hardened Olympian Wirimayi Juwawo is still to begin preparations for the new athletics season as he is yet to fully recover from a left leg knee injury.