MUTARE – The unheralded duo of Misheck Sithole and Rudo Mhonderwa walked away with the Tanganda Half Marathon titles in the men and women’s categories respectively on Sunday.
Last year’s defending champions Kelvin Pangiso and Patience Murove, both from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS), did not take part in yesterday’s race.
Sithole outran a strong cast of seasoned campaigners to claim victory in 1:05:36 with veteran runner Millen Matende in second with a time of 1:06:28 while Conisious “Navara” Nyamutsita came in third in 1:06:37.
Olympian Wirimai Zhuwawo’s record which he pegged at 1:02:43 in the 2012 race is still standing.
In the women’s category, Mhonderwa set a new record of 1:17:17 which is 50 seconds faster than Sharon Tawengwa’s 2012 winning time of 1:18:07.
This was also two minutes faster than last year’s winner Murowe, who clinched the race with a time of 1:19:08.
Patience Garauzivo was second in 1:18:41 while Bertha Chikanga was third in 1:18:42 with 2015 winner Chiedza Chokore in fourth.
Mhonderwa’s time put to rest claims that the 2012 times were set on a different course and hence there was need to have a new benchmark for the route.
Manicaland Athletics Board (MAB) chairperson Joshua Matume also insisted that the 2012 times remain a legitimate benchmark.
“We measure this course each time we host this event to just make sure that we are not making any mistakes that would recur annually as a quality assurance measure and indeed this is a 21km course, Matume said.
“Yes, some may claim Zhuwawo’s time was very fast but he was in top condition as he had just participated in the Olympics that year.”
The Tanganda Half Marathon is a major domestic long distance running competition which began in the 1980s but took a hiatus with a depressed economy-induced sabbatical between 2004 and 2011.
Manicaland Athletics Association Board (MAAB) and the National Association Athletics Board (NAAB) use this marathon for the selection of athletics to represent the country at various levels — both locally and internationally.