MUTARE – The Old Mutual Dangamvura Fun Run, whose male and female 10km events were won by veteran campaigners Jacob Mugomeri and Constance Nyasango respectively, proved an instant hit with 671 athletes participating.
The organisers only expected 400 athletes to show up.
Olympiad Wirimayi Zhuwawo came home in second place with a time of 30:56 behind Mugomeri, who hit the ribbon in 30:24.
Misheck Sithole claimed third place with a time of 31:16 during the tough race that was mostly downhill.
Moses Amos Chikudza, 64, who won the Grand Masters category, was pleased with his performance as he outpaced runners half his age.
“The race was okay. I’m used to running 42km so this was easy; too easy even,” Chikudza, a heavily grey-haired old timer said with a smile revealing his gapping teeth.
The race sadly emphasised speed over endurance.
Chikudza was, however, not the only star of the show as 61-year-old Reuben Sharara also beat many younger athletes to the finishing line behind Chikudza.
Of all the female athletes — Nyasango’s time of 37:03, Olivia Chitate’s second best of 38:24 and Chiedza Chokere’s 39:08 may have been impressive but the show was stolen by Winnet Pawo.
Pawo, a toothless elderly lady from Shawambiri in Marange won the hearts of many by completing the 10km race — and that too ahead of many other male and female athletes.
“I didn’t faint,” was her excited retort to start her interview with the Daily News.
“I completed my race. I heard many youngsters saying she will faint but God blessed me. I’m a good runner. I’m not like those other women with huge bums,” Pawo said with glee.
Pawo did not know her age and preferred instead to hand over her identity card to the enquiry.
Apparently her body looks older than the 62 years her identity card testifies. But then her strength defies both.
The event was healthy fun to the locals and another quick buck for local professional athletes who are starved of well-sponsored events to make a decent living off the sport.
Prize money was only on the 10km race with the winners walking home with $400 each while grand masters, veterans and schools took home $100 each for claiming the top spot.
Manicaland Athletics Board chairperson Joshua Matume was elated by the maiden event which he said was a welcome addition to the athletics calendar.
“This is a welcome addition to our sporting calendar and we hope the event grows bigger as it will increase interaction between young athletes and professionals and improve the sport in general,” Matume said.