MUTARE - At least 500 athletes are expected to compete in Sunday’s Tanganda Half Marathon, Manicaland Athletics Board (MAB) chairperson Joshua Matume has said.
Over 300 athletes took part in last year’s edition of the annual contest which MAB partners with principal sponsors — Tanganda Tea Company to organise.
Matume said preparations for the race, a major domestic long-distance running competition which was on a depressed economy-induced sabbatical between 2004 and 2011, were almost done.
“Preparations are now at an advanced stage, quite a number of athletes have confirmed participation in the tournament,” he said.
“We are expecting a big turnout for this year’s event in both the female and male categories.”
Matume said some of the categories being contested will be the 21km senior men and women, veterans, masters and grand masters, wheelchair and relays.
There is also a 10km race for the senior men and women, juniors out of school, secondary school category and tertiary category.
The MAB boss said he was expecting a strong challenge for honours with a strong pool that includes Olympian Wirimayi Zhuwao, who is the event’s record holder.
Veteran campaigners Lionel Muchena, Rutendo Nyahora and Millian Matende are also part of an array of top athletes, who have confirmed their participation.
Zhuwao holds the male category record after setting a time of 1:02:43 in 2012 with Sharon Tavengwa who set a time of 1hr 18 mins 07 sec in the female category is the fastest so far.
In 2013, unheralded Jonathan Chinyoka and South Africa-based Nyahora won the race after posting times of 1:06:51 and 1:18:43 respectively.
The records remained intact last year after Masvingo-based athlete Elijah Mabhunu won the 21km race in 1:06:34 while Constance Nyasango hit the ribbon after 1:18:26.