Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
VETERAN female road runner Samukeliso Moyo has challenged the up-and-coming middle and long-distance runners to up their game if they are to make an impact in road races.
Moyo came out tops in the women’s category at the Old Mutual Harare marathon on Sunday.
Seasoned athlete Mike Fokorani also walked away with the men’s title.
Speaking after the race at Old Georgians Sports Club, the 44-year-old Moyo said although she was happy to have won the women’s title, it was her wish to see the younger athletes dominating such races.
“Veterans, they are strong in mind and the training part of it in terms of endurance. But we will be looking forward for the youngsters to take up the stage not us the old people because the gap which is there between us and them is too big.
“When we started running during our time, we started with the cross-country, those were free races.
“We ran track and field and represented Zimbabwe on several occasions. The calendar was full of events for us, we never had time for fun.
“But it was my goal that I have to train and take care of my body. So this is what I always do, when I go for training, it’s serious business and I come back and rest my body.
“That’s my duty to make sure my body is okay, my legs are okay in preparation of the next training session. So that’s what keeps me going.
“If these young ones can do the same, if they can be focused and concentrate on their goals, Zimbabwe has got people who can run, talented athletes.
“It’s only that maybe they need guidance some of these youngsters. They need to be focused,” said Moyo.
Although Moyo acknowledged that experience also comes to play when they compete, she urged the up-and-coming athletes to plan for their races.
“They need to set their goals and plan the races they want to compete in if they want to stay in this field for longer. Just like any profession you invest in it, be it in terms of education, the more you invest the more you get out of it.
“As athletes they have to know the races they want to compete, not to just compete in every race and sometimes because you have not planned for it, you go there and compete and won’t even win the race,” said Moyo.
The 44-year-old, who won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 5 000m in 1998 and represented Zimbabwe at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, in 2000, is currently working towards her participation at the Two Oceans ultra-marathon slated for end of March.
Other local athletes that are also expecting to go for the ultra-marathon are Fokorani and Jonathan Chinyoka, who came second in the men’s race on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Munyaradzi Jari, who had hoped to run a qualifying time for next year’s World Championships at the Lagos City marathon on Saturday, could not last the distance as he pulled out just 24km into the race.