BY HENRY MHARA IN MUTARE
Moses Tarakinyu clinched the ticket to represent the country at the World Half Marathon in China later this year after winning the Tanganda Half Marathon race at Mutare Sports Club in Mutare yesterday morning.
On a bitingly chilly morning, the Zimbabwe National Army athlete outpaced his competitors to cross the finishing line in a time of 01:01:22 seconds ahead of Munyaradzi Jani (01:01:44 seconds) who came second.
The race’s defending champion Misheck Sithole finished third with a time of 01:02:25.
Yesterday’s main 21km race was a qualifier for the World Half Marathon scheduled for October.
This victory was Tarakinyu’s third win in a major competition this year after he also bagged the Two Oceans Half Marathon in South Africa in April and the inaugural Mashwede 10km race last week.
His latest victory also came with a US$550 prize money.
“I want to thank the Almighty God for this victory today. This race was really tough,” Tarakinyu told NewsDay Sport.
“The terrain here is very difficult because of the hills. It’s actually punishing. But I had a plan which I executed perfectly, so I’m happy,” added Tarakinyu, who said he was using this race to prepare for next week’s Victoria Falls Half marathon.
Tarakinyu was part of the leading pack of six before breaking away after 11km, with Jari and Sithole in tow. He then sped off in the last 3km to clinch victory.
The competition was equally tight in the women’s main race with Olivia Chitate managing to defend her title in a time of 01:16.08 seconds.
She beat the challenge of her fellow seasoned campaigners in Bertha Sitariko Chikanga (01:16:43 seconds), who was making a comeback after a long absence in competitions, and Constance Chisango, who came third.
Chitate, who also came into yesterday’s race high in confidence after winning the Mashwede 10km race last week, was thrilled with the victory, which also came with a US$550
“This is massive for me. I’m really happy because the competition was tough. I was worried about Bertha Chikanga because I know she is a tough competitor, but thank God I managed to beat her,” Chitate said.
In the women’s 21km wheelchair race, Stellah Jongwe came first in a time of 01:44:31 seconds, which is her second title in two weeks after also winning the Mashwede race.
Behind her was Thandiwe Ndlovu (01:46:09 seconds) and veteran athlete Margaret Bangajena, who finished third in a time of 01:59:30 seconds.
Samson Muroiwa was the winner in the men’s main wheelchair race, beating Elford Moyo and Munyaradzi Katiyo.
In the men’s 10km race, Wellington Varevi romped to victory in a time of 29 minutes 57 seconds, ahead of Munyaradzi Zizhou, who clocked 30 minutes 22 seconds. Blessmore Chidziva came third eight seconds later.
Annie Chirisa won the women’s 10km race after clocking 38 minutes and 39 seconds. Thobekile Ncube and Lily Musiiwa completed the podium.
This year’s Tanganda Half Marathon was oversubscribed with over 1 000 athletes taking part in the annual event.
- Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara