BULAWAYO – The inaugural edition of the Masiyephambili Marathon was marred by confusion and a boycott by athletes at the weekend in Bulawayo.
The event was delayed by over three hours as a number of leading runners wanted to know from the organisers how much was at task for each category.
WINNER: Andrew Chimbidzai in the mix of traffic in the Belmont industrial area of Bulawayo on sunday during the inaugural Masiyepambili Marathon. Picture: Auntony Zinyange
Top athletes like Samukeliso Moyo, Wirimai Zhuwawo and Cuthbert Nyasango boycotted the event though they had registered to participate.
The trio tried in vain to influence the other runners from taking part in the race.
In the end, the race only commenced after the intervention by officials from the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) officials present at the venue.
A number of athletes finally came to their senses and decided to go against the advice from the trio to race in the event that carried a $1 500 prize for first place.
In the men’s category, Andrew Chimbidzikai from the Zimbabwe National Army team won the race with a time of 2:15:32 while Gilbert Mtandirwa was second with a time of 2:15:38 and won $600.
Nkosiyazi Sibanda finished third with a time of 2:16:26 pocketing $500.
In fourth place was Charles Soza in 2:18:49 to take home $400 while in fifth place was Millen Matenda in 2:23:46 to take home $300.
Sibanda, Chimbidzikai and Mtandirwa gave each other a torrid time throughout the race.
In the ladies category, there were only two participants and the race was won by Lizzie Chokore, who was followed home by Fabia Filima.
The Half Marathon event, Simbarashe Chigagada won the men’s category and the prize of $500 but there was a mistake when he received an envelope with only $400 instead. The event organisers promised to rectify the mistake.
In second place was Phathisa Ngwabi who pocketed $400 while Elijah Mabhunu, who finished in third place went home with $300.
In the ladies category, Olivia Chitate came first and was followed by Sithulisile Zhou, Constance Nyasango, Muchaneta Gwata in that order.