In a move expected to create awareness, and appreciation of domestic tourism, Ecotourism Africa have joined hands with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to hold the Chivero Rhino Run this weekend.
The event will be held at Lake Chivero Recreational Park with participants taking part in a 21km race.
There will also be a 10km and 5km fun run.
Ecotourism Africa sports and recreation coordinator, Malvin Kanjere, said the event was aimed at creating awareness on the conservation of rhinos and to promote domestic tourism. "We, as Ecotourism Africa, have partnered with Zimparks to try and promote domestic tourism as well as responsible tourism.
"So, we are trying to bring conscience and make people aware of the rhino conservation, which is almost extinct, so that people will support our heritage, our nature, our culture because that is the backbone of Africa, of our country as well.
"That's our pride, as nation and, probably, as Southern Africa.
"This is the first time and there will be a number of sporting events, and other activities, coming up probably from each and every national park, safari lodge and game reserves as long as we make sure people are safe and we are making sure the Covid-19 protocol is being followed," said Kanjere
There are several other activities lined up for the day such as horse riding, game drives, tug-of-war and aerobics.
The event is being held for the first time and is expected to attract some of the country's top long-distance runners.
"We have elite athletes who will be coming, the likes of Rudo Mhonderwa and also we have athletes from ZRP, the army and others from a lot of clubs.
It's a mixed event of everything.
"Since we are hosting this event, for the first time, we are trying to make people understand that domestic tourism is affordable.
"There are options, we have camping, we have lodges, even game events that people don't know, that people are not aware of . . . so we are trying to conscientise people that domestic tourism is affordable and very possible," said Kanjere. Harare Athletic Board secretary-general, Sledge Chinyoka, is positive they will get a good response from athletes who have been missing competition.
"The Chivero Rhino Run event preparations are at an advanced stage and this will be the first half marathon, with athletes in one place, in more than seven months.
"What makes this run unique is that unlike the other competitions that have been held in the suburban streets, this one gives athletes an opportunity for serenity as they run with the marvelous wildlife view.
"Seasoned half marathon runners will be present, especially the likes of Rudo Mhonderwa. "Most long distance runners had been starved of competition and this marks the beginning of a series of competitions," Chinyoka said. Winners for men and women's 21km will get $20 000, a holiday package and fish hamper. Registration opened on Monday and will be closed on the day of the race.