ONE of the country’s road races, the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon has been rescheduled to December after it was shelved due to the coronavirus pandemic.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The race, which attracts thousands of runners among them professional athletes, health and fitness enthusiasts from the region and beyond, was due to be held on July 5.
Registration was opened in January, but after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national disaster in March, entries were closed until April 30 in anticipation that all would be well and the race would still
The organisers have, however, issued a statement on the race’s official website saying the event is now scheduled for December upon liaison with the government and other relevant stakeholders.
“We have had to re-schedule the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon, and the event is now
planned for December 13, 2020.
Of course, this will be subject to permission from the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health, and possibly Zambia, but we are confident that by December events such as the marathon will be allowed,” the statement read.
If cleared, the organisers said they had come up with safety precautions with regards to the COVID-19 disease and hoped that the race would re-ignite the carnival ambience to the Victoria Falls community, which has been blighted by the plague, as the country remains under lockdown.
“We also have initiated some ideas for our runners’ safety when in close contact with others, which we will share nearer the time. As organisers, we hope that this commitment on our part will provide a bit of happiness to the running community, and the Victoria Falls community as a whole. Something to look forward to, we feel, in these negative times,” they said.
They have also advised tourists who intended to be part of the event to: “Change your flights, move your accommodation bookings, change your training schedule, and ‘look forward’, not backward.”
Last year’s main 42,2km race was won by Christopher Gondwe, who clocked 2:25:36 in the men’s section, while the women’s category was won by Zambian Felistus Chitoshi who hit the tape in 2:52:31 and the two were rewarded with US$900 each.
Another major race which was affected by the coronavirus, the PPC Matopos 33-Mile Ultra-marathon, was supposed to be held on April 4, but was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.