THE Old Mutual Westgate half marathon has reclaimed its status as the richest local road race after the sponsors pegged the winning stakes for the main event at US$3 000.
A total of US$25 000 has been set aside for prizes from the US$100 000 that has been budgeted for the Westgate 21km road race scheduled for the shopping complex on November 10.
Last year, Old Mutual gave US$3 000 for the winners in the main categories and has once again promised the same amount this year, which will eclipse the Gutu Half Marathon that paid the winners US$2 500.
Wiririmai Juwawo won the inaugural edition last year while Rutendo Nyahora triumphed in the women's division.
Speaking at the official launch of the second edition of the race yesterday, Old Mutual Property manager, Grace Mukahanana, said they were expecting nearly 1 000 athletes for the race.
"The Westgate half marathon comes two weeks after the integrated financial services group sponsored what is arguably the most grueling race in the country, the Old Mutual Vumba Mountain race.
"Unlike last year, there will be registration fees and we will donate some of the proceeds to the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe and an orphanage in Westgate area," she said.
Mukahanana said registration for the half marathon was in progress and will close a day before the event.
"As usual we have tried to cater for everyone as we have many race categories. In addition to the main race, we have a 10km and 5km race and we have also accommodated the disabled and veterans," she said. One of the race coordinators Sebastian Garikayi of the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe said they were looking into the possibilities or having an Old Mutual series of races. Last week, it was the Vumba Marathon and next is the Westgate before the Nkulumane race in Bulawayo.
"But we are looking at the Westgate event as the richest sponsored race on the land and we are looking forward to a challenging day as we aim to develop the athletes.
"Last year, our biggest challenge was in registering athletes as most people came at the last minute," said Garikayi.