VETERAN long-distance runner Mike Fokorani has set his eyes on a top five finish tomorrow when he takes to the road in the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon in the resort town.
There are high expectations of this year's edition with the organisers indicating that after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 event is gearing up to be better than ever.
A number of Zimbabwe's leading long-distance runners are taking part in the event tomorrow in the different races lined up for the day.
The marathon is the main race.
There is a half-marathon, half-marathon relay (two runners combining to complete a 21km race) and an approximately 7km fun run on offer.
Fokorani, who is preparing for next month's Comrades Marathon in South Africa, said he is targeting a top five finish and is using the race to step up his preparations for the South African race.
"The lockdown affected us a bit but on the other hand it gave us the opportunity to refresh. We started going for races in January and we have made some progress.
"My aim is to run the Comrades Marathon on 28 August. I have already qualified for Comrades, so the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon is a good race because it gives us the platform to measure our fitness.
"After the race, we then polish up on those areas we feel are not up to the level we want.
"I am always aiming the top five at the Vic Falls Marathon. If I fail to make the top five, I won't miss the top 10.
"The Vic Falls Marathon is a tough course, so if I can run 2:25 and below, to me, it's a good time since I am preparing for Comrades," said Fokorani.
Another veteran runner, Monica Kativu, is also up for tomorrow's race and is excited with the return of the event.
"My preparations for the race have gone well because I ran the Seshego 50km in May, then on June 5 I ran another 52km race in South Africa again.
I am regaining my form as my performance has been improving after the break because of Covid-19.
"I have been making good progress, so I am looking forward to making the top 10.
"We are really grateful as athletes to Econet for supporting us. They keep on supporting us through this race because it's also an opportunity where we can also qualify for other international races," said Kativu.
Winners in the main 42km race men's and women's category will get US$1 250.
Developed in conjunction with the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe, the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon is an AIMS (Association of International Marathon and Distance Races) registered event.
The marathon provides a platform for both local and international runners to challenge themselves against the best.
The marathon route is varied in terms of terrain, with some incredible scenery and opportunity to see wildlife along the way.
This year, 5 000 participants are expected to be part of the event.