MIDDLE distance runner Jacob Mugomeri, of Rimuka Athletics Club, and South Africa-based female runner Rutendo Nyahora emerged victorious in the main male and female races respectively at the third edition of the Old Mutual Westgate Half Marathon yesterday.
Having missed out on the title in recent years, Mugomeri finally came right as he put on an impressive display to clinch the men’s title with a new personal best time of 1 hour 3 minutes 16 seconds.
“This was actually my personal best time,” the 22-year-old Mugomeri said after the race.
“I’m happy with the way I ran the race. I was consistent over the first seven kilometres, but it was at the 18 kilometre peg that I knew my victory was certain.
“I knew it was always going to be a tough race. It’s something I wasn’t expecting given of some of the big names that had entered this race. But my recent performances where I won the Tanganda 10km road, came second in the Victoria Falls half marathon and came third in Kariba half marathon, gave me confidence that I could do it.”
Elijah Mabhunu, who was aiming for his second title in less than three months after winning the Tanganda Tea half marathon title in July, finished second in 1:03:26 while Lewis Masunda settled for third position in 1:03:35.
Pre-race favourite and defending champion Kevin Pangiso finished fourth in 1:03:53.
In the women’s race, Nyahora, a regular feature on the South African circuit, where she runs of Nedbank Running Club lived up to her billing as she came first in 1:13:03.
It was a sweet victory for Nyahora, who went into the race with high hopes after missing out on the women’s title to Constance Nyasango last year.
Olivia Chitate came second with last year’s winner Constance, wife to Olympian Cuthbert Nyasango, came third.
Both Nyahora and Mugomeri walked away with $3 000 each, while the runners-up in both categories claimed $2 000 each.
Seasoned wheelchair athlete Elford Moyo retained his title in the 21km race for the men’s race.
The 150 000 Old Mutual Westgate half marathon — the richest competition on the local athletics calendar — attracted the crème de la crème of local middle and long distance running.