Kenyan long distance runners as expected dominated the inaugural Sunshine City Marathon by sweeping the top three spots in the men’s race held in the capital yesterday.
The Kenyans proved they are still miles ahead of their Zimbabwean counterparts with Cosmas Kembo leading a Kenyan clean sweep of medals in the men’s 42km race after crossing the finishing line first in two hours 15,36 mins for the $10 000 prize money.
His compatriot Luka Chelimo was closely behind him in two hours 15,47 mins, with yet another Kenyan Julius Kiplimo finishing in third position in a time of two hours 17,19 minutes.
Zimbabwe Republic Police long-distance runner Cephas Pasipamire was the best placed local athlete in the men’s 42kilometre race in fourth place in two hours 18,07 minutes ahead of another Kenyan David Kipligat, to complete the top five.
While the Kenyans dominated the men’s 42km race, it was a different case in the women’s race where local athletes dominated the star-studded field Veteran female long-distance runner Thabita Tsatsa lead Zimbabwe’s own clean sweep in the women’s open category in 2 hours 43,37 minutes for the $10 000 prize money.
“It was a tough race but I give credit to the hard work I put in preparing for this race for the good result. I have been preparing hard in South Africa for this race as well as the All-Africa Games and the Olympics.
“I feel great to finally win a big race in Zimbabwe because I have been running and winning in other countries but it’s good that we are now having races here in Zimbabwe and hopefully it will continue,” said Tsatsa, who turns 39 in September.
South Africa-based queen of the road Samukeliso Moyo settled for second place in two hours 44,10 minutes ahead of Lizzie Chikore who came home third in 2 hours 47,47 minutes.
Chiyedza Chikore completed the Zimbabwean contingent in fourth place; while the best placed Kenyan in the women’s
42km race came in fifth position in two hours 56,40 seconds.
Over 2 000 professional and amateur runners from Zimbabwe and countries like Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, China, Austria, Canada, Japan and US took part in the race, which is the first of its kind in the country.
Three-time Comrades Marathon winner Stephen Muzhingi, who is the ambassador of the race did not finish the race as he is still suffering from the after effects of the grueling Comrades in May.
Meanwhile despite struggling in the men’s 42km race local athletes stamped their authority in the half marathon (21,1km) and the five kilometre race.
Results at a glance:
Women’s five kilometre race Prize winners: 1 Thandiwe Nyathi (16.20 mins), 2 Constance Nyasango (16,35 mins), Ntombizodwa Moyo (17,09 mins)
Men’s five kilometres Prize winners: 1 George Majaji (14.21 mins), 2 Trust Chidamaya (14,27 mins), 3 Ngoni Ncube (14,32 mins)
Wheel Chair -women 21 kilometres – 1st Margret Bangajena (2 hours 19,19 seconds), 2 Docus Hwatira (2 hours 20,17 seconds), 3rd Moline Muza (2 hours 23,33 minutes)
Wheel chair- men’s 21 kilometre race: 1st Elford Moyo (1 hour 10,32 minutes), 2 Edmund Makutya (1 hour 10,53 minutes), 3 Allan Garaba (1 hour 12,47 minutes)
Women 21,1 kilometre race – 1st Rutendo Nyahora (1 hour 17,14 minutes), 2 Faith Nyasango (1:18,42 minutes), 3 Muchaneta Gwata (1 hour 23,13 minutes)
Men 21,1 kilometre race – 1st Felix Kipchirchir (Kenya) (1 hour 03,37 minutes), 2 Luwis Masunda (1 hour 04,09 minutes), Cuthbert Nyasango (1 hour 04,24 seconds)