6 November 2017

Zimbabwe: Zim Athletes Shine in SA

Zimbabwean marathon runners recently made their presence felt at this year's Run 4 Cancer Ultra Marathon at Polokwane Cricket Club in South Africa.

A total of five Zimbabwean long-distance runners finished in the Top 10 in the 48km race.

Unheralded Prosper Mutwira was the first Zimbabwean runner to cross the finish line as he came third in 2 hours 53 minutes three seconds.

The race was won by Ethiopian Kedebe Aberra Dinke in 2:52:49 and was followed home by South African Lutendo Mapoto in 2:52:55.

Mutwira then settled for a bronze medal by coming third ahead of fellow Zimbabweans Jonathan Chinyoka, Collen Makaza and Portpher Dombojena who were fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Chinyoka was timed in at 2:53:12 while Makaza and Dombojena clocked 2:53:41 and 2:54:19 respectively.

Another seasoned Zimbabwean long-distance runner Gilbert Mutandiro also did well to finish in 10th place in 3:00:51.

Mutwira, who has been taking part in several long-distance races, believes he is getting there and is now looking forward to other races.

"I am happy to have qualified for next year's Two Oceans race after my great performance in South Africa.

"This was my biggest finish in an international event having come on position eight at the Two Oceans earlier this year. I have been working hard and coming third behind an Ethiopian and a South African shows I am getting there slowly.

"It has been a long journey as I did not compete for two years after finishing school in 2013 but after securing a trainer I hope I will continue to do well," said Mutwira.

The women's 48km event also saw South Africa-based Zimbabwean Loveness Madziva finishing second in 3:23:59 behind Morel Pome of Ford Running Club who clocked 3:22:16 to take the gold medal.

Madziva trains under South Africa's Nedbank Athletics Club.

Another Zimbabwean female runner Chiedza Chokore came fourth in 3:35:13 while another veteran competitor Samukeliso Moyo was fifth in 3:37:27.

There was also a 32km race at the same event and it saw Zimbabwean Kelvin Pangiso finishing fourth in 1:46:54 while his fellow countrymen Vari Munyaradzi came 14th in 1:58:14.

In the women's 10km race, Zimbabwe's Nomore Chidziva, who is unattached, finished second behind South African Collen Muludzi in 26:58 as Correctional Stars' Caroline Mhandu settled for a bronze medal in 33:37.

A number of Zimbabwean runners have now managed to qualify for the Comrades Marathon and Two Oceans Marathon after competing in last weekend's event in Polokwane.

The annual SA Run 4 Cancer Ultra Marathon is a health and fitness awareness and support programme recognised in consolidation of different cancer infections that aims to support different cancer awareness programmes and support victims affected, infected and survivors.

By taking part in the course and race symbolise telling or sharing a story of hope on behalf of those who are affected and providing support and most of all encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

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