MIDDLE and long-distance runner Kelvin Pangiso won the Harare Athletics Board cross-country race yesterday to qualify for the Inter-provincial championships to be held in Kwekwe this coming weekend.
Pangiso, who runs under the Zimbabwe Prison Services, crossed the finish line in 24 minutes 4.30 seconds to beat his teammate Collen Makaza, who came second in 24 minutes 17.58 seconds, in the main men's Open 12km race at Prince Edward School.
HAB were using the competition to select a team that will represent the province at the inter-provincials in the seniors and the Under-20 categories and the top six athletes will progress to this week's event.
Pangiso said he was happy with his performance and noted that he is using the events to prepare for his international races.
"The race was fine. It will help me a lot in my upcoming races and it is gave me the rhythm of pace because sometimes when you just train without competing, it will be difficult when you compete in the big races in terms of pace.
"I am going for the Two Oceans Marathon (in South Africa) but I will compete in the half-marathon as part of my preparations for a marathon in Singapore and that will be my first marathon for this year. It will be held in April.
"I used to compete in the 10km races but this year I am going for the full marathon," said Pangiso.
Second-placed Makaza also said he was preparing for his upcoming races this year.
"I am training for the Two Oceans Marathon in March. Last year I was third but this year my aim is to win it.
"My preparations have been going on well and I was using this race for speed work and stamina," said Makaza.
Abrian Dune of Mufakose 1 was third in 24 minutes 35.98 seconds while Andrew Chikukwa of ZPS came fourth in 25 minutes 23.86 seconds. Dzingai Dandare and Paul Mhizha were fifth and sixth respectively.
In the women's category, there were only four participants and they took part in an 8km event with Hellen Chiundo of ZRP winning the race when she clocked 21 minutes 7.39 seconds while Precious Makaza of ZPS was second in 22 minutes 59.40 seconds.
Moleen Tafirei ran 23 minutes 13.40 seconds to settle for third place and Pedzisai Magora finished fourth in 27 minutes 56.55 seconds.
Frank Akimu of Prince Edward won the boys Under-20 8km race in 19 minutes 36.52 seconds while Lewis Mhlanga from Athletic club finished second in 20 minutes 30.53 seconds. He was followed home by his teammate Blessing Makansa, who posted a time of 20 minutes 30.56 seconds, and Joshua Gando was fourth in 20 minutes 51.23 seconds.
Takudzwa Muzenda was fifth in 29 minutes 30.24 seconds.
In the girls section, Anna Bungu of St Charles came first in 14 minutes 39.73 seconds and Faith Rongoti of Zimbiru was second in 16 minutes 56 seconds.
Polite Makorwa settled for third place in 17 minutes 31.46 seconds while Epiphania Zindi finished fourth in 18 minutes 5.24 seconds.
Vivian Atonia and Delight Kambeu of Zimbiru were fifth and sixth respectively.
Other age-groups that participated in yesterday's meet were the Under-17 and Under-14s who took part in the 6km and 3km events respectively.
However, they will not be competing at the inter-provincials.
Wellington Sakara of St Charles won the Under-17 boys race in 13 minutes 46 seconds while Lydia Mugadzi won the girls section in 17 minutes 0.23 seconds.
For the Under-14 boys, Grand Chigwenhese clocked 10 minutes 26.42 seconds and Vanesa Gwaravanda walked away with the girls title in 11 minutes 23 seconds.
HAB secretary-general Sailus Muringani said they were satisfied with the turnout although the seniors section was affected by the Peter Gradwell marathon which was also held yesterday in Harare and most of the seniors preferred to take part in the marathon.
"On the seniors, we were affected by the other event on the other side (of the city) but it's not bad since it is our opening event of the season.
We are happy that our seasoned runners like Pangiso and Makaza graced the occasion and as expected they did well to lead the province, they will be our captains for the team.
"We are happy we have done the selection event and those that took part today will go and represent the province at the inter-provincials," said Muringani.