HARARE – Zimbabwe Republic Police Athletic Club athletes dominated the second edition of the Nyaradzo Hac 32km Memorial winning both the men and women Open categories here yesterday.
The Harare Athletic Club was founded in 1949 and has endured due to its relevance and responsiveness to members’ physical and other related requirements.
Though the initial focus was on track and field events the club has now fully evolved into a long distance running club. Since 1987, the club is resident at Old Georgians Sports Club in Mount Pleasant.
Munyaradzi Jari was the first man home in 1 hour 47 minutes 38 seconds beating to second and third place Gilbert Mutandiri and Peter Tumbare respectively.
In the Open Women category, Rutendo Mapindu also of ZRP proved too good for her female counterparts racing home in 2 hours 17 minutes.
The 26-year-old who took an interest in athletics in June last year got able support from her role model Olivia Chitate also from the same club who finished in second place while Margaret Hohoma settled for third best.
“I only want to thank God for giving me this opportunity to showcase my talent…and in terms of the race I would say this year it was a bit flatter and easier to run compared to the previous year’s terrain where it has been a bit hilly,” 27-year-old Jari the men’s champion told the Daily News after the race.
“The race served as a good preparatory duel for me ahead of the Lagos Marathon in February. I hope to do well in Nigeria and also help boost my chances of qualifying for the world championships.”
Mapindu was over the moon for getting the podium finish though remained humble in victory giving all the credit to her coach Cephas Pasipamire and training partner and role model Chitate.
“I’m very happy that I won the race, it was difficult but together with Olivia we braved the challenge- she kept urging me to carry on with it and go all the way,” Mapindu said.
“My coach…always tells me in training never to give up no matter how hard the terrain maybe, his philosophy is ‘whenever you feel pain know that you are nearing success’ so these words kept ringing loud in my head culminating in this important victory. This is my first time to win 32km and I’m now looking forward to the 42km race next month.”
Over 600 athletes took part in the race that also featured different categories such as the masters, grandmasters and veterans to mention but a few and Hac club captain Derek Sigauke said the event can only grow better.
There were financial rewards for the top three winners in both men and women categories with the winner getting $300 while the first and second runner-up pocked $200 and $100 respectively.
Nyaradzo chief executive Philip Mataranyika who also took part in the 10km event said they will be at hand to sponsor the race for as long as people want to remain fit.