BY SPORTS REPORTER
ZIMBABWEAN Christopher Gondwe is this year’s winner of the 42,2km Econet Victoria Falls Marathon which was run yesterday, with Zambian Felistus Chitoshi taking the women’s top
Gondwe crossed the finishing line at Victoria Falls Primary School in a time of 2 hours 25 minutes and 36 seconds, ahead of Zambia’s Costern Chiyaba, who was closely behind by just 44 seconds.
Lyno Muchena took third, behind Chiyaba by four seconds.
So tight was the men’s contest that fourth placed Blessing Topodzi was behind the second placed by just 10 seconds.
Last year’s winner, Nkosiyazi Sibanda was unable to defend his title, finishing eighth in a time of 2 hours 27 minutes 3 seconds.
For his efforts, Gondwe received a US$900 cash prize, while Chiyaba got US$750, with Muchena walking away with US$600.
The contest was not as tight in the women race with Chitoshi romping to victory in 2 hours 52 minutes 31 seconds, ahead of veteran Chiedza Chokore who managed 2 hours 58 minutes 12
Another seasoned athlete, Tabitha Tsatsa, winner of the marathon in 2017, took third spot in 3 hours, six minutes and six seconds.
The top three received the same prize monies that their male counterparts got.
Moses Tarakinyu won the men’s 21,1km half marathon, hitting the finishing line in 1 hour 5 minutes 47 seconds.
He was closely followed by Ebel Chibanda in 1 hour 5 minutes 49 seconds.
In third spot was Isaac Mpofu in 1 hour 7 minutes 11 seconds.
Tarakinyu picked up a cash prize of US$500 and Chibanda pocketed US$350 while Mpofu took home US$300.
The women’s half marathon race was won by Olivia Chitate, who opted not to defend her full marathon title. Chitate romped to victory in 1 hour 19 minutes 52 seconds.
Rudo Mhonderwa was second in 1 hour 22 minutes 18 seconds, with Constance Nyasango coming third in 1 hour 23 minutes 16 seconds.
As was the case for the full marathon, the women’s half marathon top three picked up the same prize money as their male counterparts.
Elford Moyo won the men’s Half Marathon Wheelchair ahead of Samson Muroyiwa.
The women’s wheelchair race was won by Thandie Ndhlovu while second place went to Margret Bangajena.
The male hand cycle race was won by Previous Wiri, who beat Alexander Mkandla.
Moline Muza was first in the women’s hand cycle contest with Ratidzo Tomu coming in second.
Econet, the main sponsors of the marathon, represented at the podium by chief operating officer Fayaz King, congratulated the winners for their “distinguished efforts” and all runners
for “winning by showing up and participating” in an event which is now in its 13th year.
This year’s edition attracted a field of over 3 500 runners, with organisers putting restrictions on the number of entries due to safety concerns.