The fourth edition of the annual Kujatana Nkubotu 21-kilometre Peace Marathon race was launched at Pakare Paye in Norton yesterday with the organisers Twalumba Foundation promising an improved event this year.
This year’s race which has a budget of $250 000 will be staged on September 24 in Binga, with athletes expected to descend on the Matabeleland North town at least three days before race day.
Unlike in previous editions, the organisers revealed they had organised some extra activities in the days prior to the race, to go in line with the theme of this year’s competition, “Make Your Voice Heard.”
Race convener Miriam Sibanda — who is also the deputy patron of Twalumba Foundation — said an exciting event is on the cards.
“Besides the race itself, there will be a cultural festival that will start two days before the race. We are organising various Tonga groups to come out and showcase their cultures and other artefacts of the local people. We have also invited Kapfupi (Freddy Manjalima) and Mai Nga for a show after the race on Saturday and in-between there will be some football matches between teams from wards within Binga,” said Sibanda.
Kujatana Nkubotu race had received some criticism in the past with athletes complaining they were not provided transport to the area while other athletes complained that last year’s event started late and they failed to manage in the searing heat of Binga.
Sibanda said they had rectified all the problems and hoped that this year’s edition would run smoothly.
Event patron Nkululeko Sibanda, the executive chairman of Twalumba Holdings, said he wanted to make it become the richest race in Africa.
The marathon recently got international recognition after a successful marking of the race route by Pieter de Jager, an International Association of Athletes Federation representative.
“This is my small contribution towards the bigger picture of developing my home area. Sponsoring the race, is our direct response to help the people of Binga. We have decided to bring the world to Binga. We want to showcase how Binga is rich in terms of basket making and wood carving.” As part of the social responsibility in the area, the foundation has adopted 270 children whom they are paying school fees for at Manjolo Primary School.
They also said they are intending to build a classroom at the school as part of the foundation legacy.