WATCH: Nedbank athletes bag PPC Matopos 33-Miler Prosper Mutwira

Lovemore Dube, [email protected]

UNHERLADED Nedbank Zimbabwe athlete Prosper Mutwira broke away from the leading pack soon after the 33km mark to win the 2024 PPC Matopos 33-Miler convincingly on a chilly Sunday morning in Bulawayo yesterday.

He clocked 3 hours 06 minutes 06 seconds. His time is one of the best ever run on the course and far much of an improvement to Innocent Chimbidzikai’s 3 hours 12 minutes 37 seconds run the last time the event was held in 2019.

There was a five-year hiatus because of Covid-19.

Despite the time being top notch, he could not beat Tommy Lazarus’ 3 hours 03 minutes 18 seconds record set in 1984.

Chiedza Chokore celebrates yesterday after retaining the title she won in 2019

With David Levick’s 3 hours 09 minutes 59,4 seconds effort having been the second best set in 1975, Mutwira wrote himself a piece of history by running the best time in the Second Republic.

“I broke away with 20km to go and I led all the way to win this race. I have participated in the 33-Miler since 2016 and my best finish was fifth position. I am happy that this time I won it,” said an ecstatic Mutwira after crossing the line in convincing fashion a minute ahead of Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) athlete Jonathan Chinyoka.

Chinyoka blamed his valves for the second spot.

“As we were about to enter the main road towards the city after leaving the Matopos National Park, I stopped to urinate and could not catch up with him. I had prepared for the Two Oceans instead and did not get a sponsor so I decided to come here. I was confident I could win,” said Chinyoka who is hoping he may get a sponsor to compete in this year’s Comrades Marathon.

A better run in the last 8km saw him outpace the chasing pack to claim a time of 3 hours 07 minutes 05 seconds.

Black Rhinos’ Trust Hove was third in 3 hours 09 minutes 19 seconds.

Prosper Mutwira (left) with the leading pack earlier in the race

Veterans Mike Fokorani and Nkosiyazi Sibanda were seventh and eighth in times of 3 hours 17 minutes 42 seconds and 3 hours 18 minutes 26 seconds respectively.

Lucky Munsaka of Blanket Mine who had appeared to be the pacesetter at some stage could only settle for ninth to make it to athletes for Blanket Mine in the top 10 with Sibanda. His time was 3 hours 23 minutes 28 seconds.

The day belonged to Nedbank Zimbabwe in the 33-Miler as Chiedza Chokore retained the title she had won in 2019 running a superb 3 hours 45 minutes 46 seconds. The low temperatures and slight drizzle appeared to have been the right ingredient to spur athletes into better performances.

On her way to claiming the US$2  000 winners’ prize which was the same as the men’s, she chopped off 12 minutes from her last race where she had finished in 3 hours 57 minutes 17 seconds for a time that could now be a course record.

Rudo Mhonderwa was second in 3 hours 49 minutes 49 seconds and she runs for Cadence.

Mutare Runners’ Neviah Maganzo was third in 3 hours 51 minutes 05 seconds.

In both categories the winners received US$2  000, runners-up US$1 300, 3rd US$600, 4th US$500, 5th US$250, 6th US$200, 7th US$150, 8th US$100, 9th US$100, 10th US$100.

Tumbare, Fokorani and Sibanda finished in that order to claim the veterans’ prize in the men’s section after also managing to enter the top 10 winners’ list in the open category won by Mutwira.

They pocketed an extra US$600, US$400 and US$300 respectively.

There were handsome pickings too for athletes with disabilities (wheelchair) in which Munyaradzi Katiyo of Tsvaira Club won the 21km event in 1 hour 07 minutes 43 seconds. Second Samson Muroyiwa of Zvishavane 1 hour 12 minutes 40 seconds. Richwood Paraplegic Club’s Morleen N was third 1 hour 13 minute 02 seconds. Highly fancied Stella Jongwe lived up to her pre-race as a favourite tipped by veteran multi race winner Magaret Bangajena when she won the wheelchair category in the 21km event.

She clocked 1 hour 26 minutes 58 seconds with Thandiwe Ndlovu of Racers second in 1 hour 34 minutes 55 seconds. Morleen Muza who races for Zvishavane was third in 1 hour 36 minutes 48 seconds.

Bangajena, a former champion, could only settle for fourth in 1 hour 39 minutes 32 seconds.

In the open men’s Half-Marathon honours went to Moses Tariciro in 1 hour 04 minutes 02 seconds, with Wayne Kabondo second in 1 hour 04 minutes 17 seconds and Tendai Zimuto third in 1 hour 04 minutes 22 seconds all magnificent efforts.

ZRP athlete Ethel Pangiso won the women’s Half-Marathon in 1 hour 19 minutes 07 seconds. ZPCS’s Patience Murove was second 1 hour 22 minutes 01 seconds and Mr Pace’s Mirriam Sibanda settling for third spot in 1 hour 22 minutes 35 seconds.


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