Three-time Comrades Marathon champion Stephen Muzhingi will run his first big 42-kilometre event when he takes part in the New York Marathon in the United States tomorrow.
The ultra-marathon specialist, who in May became the first athlete in 23 years to win the Comrades three years in succession, is the only Zimbabwean athlete taking part in the event.
Muzhingi (33), together with another Comrades marathon legend Bruce Fordyce, were yesterday expected to share their experiences in ultra-running during an event organised by the TriLife Comrades Team.
Initially, Muzhingi was expected to first take part in the 100km World Championships in Switzerland in September before proceeding to the New York Marathon, but pulled out of the former due to the illness and subsequent death of his mother that same month.
Muzhingi said he would run the New York Marathon in honour and memory of his mother.
“My family sacrificed a lot for me to get to where I am now, so it is sad that she won’t be able to see me run my first race outside of Africa. But I will give my best for her.
“My aim is to run 2 hours 10 minutes or faster, which I know I can do and all I can say is thank you to the New York Road Runners for the invitation and to Craig Fry my manager for making this happen for me,” said Muzhingi recently before his departure for the US.
The New York Marathon will be Muzhingi’s first visit outside Africa.
He received news of the invitation in June, after his manager Fry had been negotiating with New York Road Runners, the organisers of the event since January.
The New York Marathon, which has handsome prize money of $800 000, is one of the biggest road races in the world and attracts world-class professional runners, drawing more than 100 000 applicants annually.