Sunday's Blantyre City Marathon has identified a new winner in Zomba-based Mphatso Nadolo but it seems the performance of long distance runners is going down as Nadolo was far from breaking the 42.195km course's 16-year-old record of 2:18:40hrs, set by veteran Henry Moyo in 2003.
Nalicy after crossing the line Nadolo crossing the line Women's winners podium Men's winners podium
He clocked 2:29:38 and it was not even his personal best because last year, in his maiden marathon, he was third in 2:28:42.
Last year's winner, Moyale Barracks soldier Ndacha Nchelenje, finished in a time of 2:27:10, over by 9:30 minutes of the 2:18:40 record.
Even in the women's category, the performance is unimpressive as the winner, South Africa-based Nalicy Chirwa, finished in 3:05:55, just her personal best because she failed to beat Theresa Master's personal best of 2:48:21 she set at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.
Her triumph is that this is her first marathon in Malawi and she trounced Master, who was last year's champion.
Master, who finished in 3:17:11 was third this time around, beating her last year's time of 3:19:49, in which she overshot her Rio Olympic Games personal best of 2:48:21 by 31:28 minutes.
Master's last year's runner-up, Doris Fisher was also second this time around.
On second place in the men's category was Kefasi Kasiteni in 2:32:35 while Jafali Jossam, in his maiden marathon, was third in 2:34:37.
Nadolo said he was pleased with his performance and aims to continue to aim high as he targets to become a household name.
He paid tribute to his runner-up Kefasi Kasiteni, saying all along he had been checking his shoulder knowing a veteran was behind him.
He aspires to one day represent the country and be on the winners podium.
"I want to compete against the best at international level. I want to equal what the Kenyans have achieved," he said.
The women's champion Nalicy Chirwa said she came all the way not necessarily to be on the podium but to prepare for the Old Mutual Soweto Marathon scheduled for November.
"I am so proud that I have made it as the champion," said champion, who is from Nkhata Bay district.
"I was training hard for the Soweto Marathon and I decided to come over to practise for it.
"My target now is to reduce my time to below 3 hours in order to achieve my aspirations," she said.
Organizers of the marathon, Malawi National Council of Sports, have been trying to entice the athletes to improve their performance in order to identify potential athletes for international competitions by dangling an extra K500,000 incentive that it shall be awarded to the winner if he was to break the record.
That money has once again been reserved for next year's event.
For athletes to qualify for major marathons they are meant to be finishing in better time in their national competitions.