Gutu Half Marathon loses lustre

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THE Simon Muzenda Gutu Half Marathon is continuing to lose its glamour, as winning prizes were slashed, a development that irked athletes.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Athletes from around the country on Sunday converged in Gutu to compete in the race, but the prizes were far below their expections. Winners in the main 21km main category race received $600 in both the female and male category.

The men’s race was won by Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Kelvin Pangiso, who clocked 1hr 8min 31sec, while Olivia Chitate won the female category in 1hr 22min 30sec.

Rutendo Nyahora, who was the reigning champion, pulled out of the race, due to lack of clarity on prize money.

Nyahora Rutendo

Nyahora said last year she received $1 000 for winning the race, although the organisers had promised $2 500, which they paid in previous years.

Elijah Mabhunu, who came fourth in the race, said he was not happy with the prizes.

“The race started late because athletes were not happy with the prizes, my morale was low when I learnt of the prizes,” he said.
Organiser of the event, Titus Madzingo said there were some donors who did not honour their pledges.

“We met the athletes at around 5:30am before the race and we were very clear on the prizes, so that athletes who wanted compete in the race could go ahead,” he said.

“We had donors who did not fulfill their promises, some even promised to give us the money this week, but we realised that we had to work with what we had.”

With what happened on Sunday, organisers have a tough task of attracting top athletes in future races.

This weekend athletes will compete in the Old Mutual Vumba Half Marathon at Leopard Rock Hotel in Vumba.

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