Zimbabwe: Econet Victoria Falls Marathon Back

THE Econet Victoria Falls Marathon returns to the sporting calendar this year, with close to 5 000 runners expected to participate at this year's event on July 3, 2022.

Announcing the marathon this week, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe -- the title sponsors of the popular marathon -- said this year's event will be held physically in the iconic resort town.

"We are delighted to announce that registration is now open for this year's Econet Victoria Falls marathon, and to let the public know that this year's event will be back to full capacity," said Econet spokesperson Fungai Mandiveyi early this week.

The marathon experienced a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Mandiveyi said his company looked forward to welcoming back both regular and new runners to this year's marathon.

"We look forward to welcoming back familiar and new athletes to this year's event, which will be run under the theme 'Run the Big Three'".

He said veteran athletes will battle it out along the "Elephant Route", the full 42 kilometres marathon, while the "Leopard Route" will be for those participating in the 21km half-marathon. The 7.5km "Lion Route" will be the popular fun run, which often attracts whole families, along with some first-time runners.

"We are excited that once again there will be something for everyone at this year's marathon; for serious and veteran athletes as well as for family and friends out to have some fun and a healthy good time at the seventh wonder of the world," said Mandiveyi, adding that there would also be up to US$25 000 worth of prizes to be won.

On race day, it is now the tradition to have Zumba dance classes and a variety of fun and entertainment for the entire family, including face painting for children.

Econet, which is a big proponent of health and wellness, has been sponsoring the Victoria Falls Marathon since 2009.

The event, which started in 2006, was last held physically in 2019, when it attracted a field of over 3 500 participants from more than 40 nationalities around the world, making it one of the biggest and most anticipated events on the global running calendar.

Mandiveyi said he hoped the public would take advantage of the uniqueness of the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon and plan now to participate.

"The event is clearly like no other from a racing point of view as no other race will take you on a route that starts by running over the Victoria Fall iron bridge, through the spray and thunder of the Victoria Falls, cutting through a world heritage site, and having the chance to see big game -- such as Elephant and Buffaloes, along the marathon route."

He said this would be in addition to the opportunity, once in Victoria Falls, for visitors and runners to take game viewing safaris, go on boat cruises on the mighty Zambezi, do white water rafting and much more.

Mandiveyi said to participate in this year's marathon -- which is also a qualifying race for this years Comrades Marathon -- runners should register on www.vicfallsmarathon.com and pay using EcoCash, MasterCard or Visa Card.

For local (Zimbabwean) athletes, the 7.5km Lion route attracts a fee of US$5, the 21km Leopard route costs US$10, while the 42km Elephant route requires US$15 for one to participate in it.

Athletes from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region will pay US$5 for the Lion route, US$30 for the Leopard route and US$40 for the Elephant route.

At the same time international participants will pay US$10, US$50 and US$60 respectively for the three races.

Meanwhile, Wild Frontiers, the organisers of the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon, called on all athletes and staff at the event to adhere to Covid-19 protocols as set out by the Government during the time of the event. These include social distancing (when not in active participation), the wearing of face masks, physical distancing and hand sanitising.

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