PPC CEMENT has increased sponsorship for the Matopos 33 Miler from $10 000 to $13 000 to make the country’s only ultra-marathon race more attractive.BY THANDIWE MOYO
The 53,097km ultra marathon will be held on April 3, with athletes competing to qualify for Africa’s longest ultra-marathon, the Comrades, in South Africa later this year.
“The PPC Matopos 33 Miler marathon is to be held on Sunday April 3. Last year, it was $10 000 and this year, we have increased to just over $13 000,” managing director, Kelibone Masiyane said.
He said this year, they were expecting over 1 000 participants.
“We have managed to grow this event to a nationally respected marathon, which now has a continental broadcasting coverage. When we held the marathon in 2014, we had slightly under 300 participants that ballooned to about 500 in 2015. This year, we are expecting over 1 000 participants just to underline the growing participation of the marathon itself,” Masiyane said.
Last year, the ultra-marathon was won by Lyno Muchena in three hours 13 minutes 59 seconds, winning $750, with Andrew Chimbidzikai finishing second in three hours 14 minutes 14 seconds, while Leonard Koki was third in three hours 16 minutes 34 seconds.
In the women’s category, Lizzie Chokore won the ultra-marathon in three hours 52 minutes 22 seconds, while 2013 and 2014 winner Monica Kativhu came second in four hours 31 minutes 29 seconds, while veteran athlete Samukeliso Moyo was third in four hours 40 minutes 35 seconds.
“This year, all athletes will be electronically timed. This is a first for Zimbabwe and this is a testimony for PPC to always lead the pack,” Masiyane said.
The course was measured and certified by the International Association for Athletics Federations.
PPC general manager Roger Steyn said the course starts at the 53,097km peg from Bulawayo at the Circular Drive in the Matopos National Park just after the Moth Shrine through the national park, past World’s View out the main gate finishing at the Bulawayo Athletics Club.
The half marathon starts at the halfway point, which is 21,098km and the relay will start at the ultra-marathon point and then 10km from there, with the fun run starting from Hamilton High school.
“In terms of corporate social responsibility, we will identify a school or clinic in Matobo District to develop,” the PPC boss said.
“It’s not just about sport, but leaving a lasting legacy for Matobo District, from which the race starts and this is part of the development and uplifting of the area.”