68 Zimbos for Comrades Marathon

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SIXTY-EIGHT Zimbabwean long distance runners are in South Africa to take part in tomorrow’s edition of the annual Comrades Marathon.

RONALD MOYO

The competition will see over 17 000 athletes drawn from different countries around the globe enduring a gruelling 89km race that starts off from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.

Some of the athletes expected to raise the Zimbabwean flag high include Stephen Muzhingi, who won three successive Comrades titles in 2009, 2010 and  2011.

Muzhingi’s manager Craig Fry said he was confident the veteran long distance runner would do well this year as he had stayed injury-free throughout his preparations.

“Stephen has spent the last two months in Pietermaritzburg finalising preparations. These have gone very well. This year, he is injury-free and is in excellent shape,” said Fry from his base in South Africa yesterday.

“He is determined to do well not only for himself, but for his family and country as he wants to bring the title of Comrades Champion back to Zimbabwe this year.”

“As we know, this is sport, so anything can happen on the day, but physically he is in excellent shape and mentally strong for the challenges ahead,” he said.

Muzhingi will be battling it out with fellow countrymen Moses Njodzi, Formula Bluff Meats runner Point Chaza, Peter Mavura and Marko Mambo, among others, for the top honours.

Hilmax Athletics Club athlete Monica Kativhu, who has been doing well, will be joining veteran athletes Samukeliso Moyo and Tabitha Tsatsa on the road.

“It is going to be a very tough competition, but I will try my best in this race. My aim is to finish in the top 10 or even coming first if possible,” Kativhu said.

The 33-year-old has been impressive this year, finishing fifth in the Nengoma 56km Marathon in Durban on March 16 before third at the Boksburg Saps Ultra-marathon in Johannesburg in the following week.

She went on to defend the title in the Portland Cement Zimbabwe-sponsored Matopos 33-Miler Ultra-marathon on April 14 romping home in four hours six minutes and 47 seconds.

Zimbabwean seasoned athletics coach, Aaron Whyte — who guided Muzhingi to glory in the same competition in 2010 — has been monitoring Kativhu for the past months as she prepared for this competition said this year history will be made.

“It is a tough route that needs to be respected. Comrades is not only about competing against other athletes, but conquering the journey. Zimbabwean athletes are battle toughened and mentally strong,” Whyte said.

“People should expect surprises because there is no Zimbabwean female athlete who has made it to the top 10 finish, but this year history will be written.”

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