By Makanaka Masenyama
SEASONED athlete Jonathan Chinyoka completed an historic double of titles on the local long distance running circuit after romping to victory in the second edition of the CBZ Marathon held at Old Georgians Sports Club on Sunday morning.
Exactly a month after winning the Old Mutual Harare marathon title at the same venue, Chinyoka put on another impressive show in the star-studded event to underline his growth as one of the country’s top runners.
Chinyoka, whose dream is to represent Zimbabwe at the Olympic Games, completed the 42.2km men’s race in 2hrs 18 mins 53 seconds, an improvement from his winning time of 2hrs 19min 34sec in the Old Mutual Harare Marathon last month.
The 29 year-old Masvingo-born runner’s determination throughout the race paid off as he finished well ahead of second placed Prosper Mutwira, who crossed the finish line in 2hrs 24min 06 sec.
Defending champion, Tawanda Bvumawabaya settled for third position in 2hrs 27 min 58 sec.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com after the race, Chinyoka said he was delighted to win the CBZ Marathon whose field included top South African marathon runners Edward Mothibi, who is the reigning Comrades Marathon champion.
“I am very happy to win the CBZ Marathon and I will continue to work hard so that I defend my title,” said Chinyoka.
“I am also happy that i managed to beat the top South African athlete who had become the attraction of this marathon. I wish that I get sponsorship so that every time I run, I do very well,” added Chinyoka.
While Chinyoka continued with his dominance in the men’s race, it was the same case in the women’s race as Olivia Chitate successfully defended her title to also complete a double after winning the Old Mutual Harare Marathon title last month.
The 32 year-old crossed the finish line in 2hrs 50mins 14sec.
Chitate told NewZimbabwe.com that she was happy to defend her title and encouraged women to exercise so that they become active.
“Women must wake up and run to keep fit. I run because it benefits me a lot not just for making money but for the good of my health,” said Chitate.
Faith Nyasango wife of Zimbabwean national marathon record holder and Olympian, Cuthbert Nyasango and Lizzie Chokore came second and third respectively in the women’s race.
CBZ Group Executive Marketing and corporate affairs manager Matilda Nyathi said they were happy with the massive turnout at this year’s race which attracted a record 2000 runners.
“We are excited and honoured to have had over 1700 runners gracing the CBZ marathon,” said Nyathi.
“We would like to thank our co-sponsors and partners. Edward Nyathi from South Africa told me he was very impressed by the level of organisation,” added Nyathi.
The 21.1km women’s race was won by Patience Murowe in 1 hr 19 mins 43 sec ahead of Miriam Sibanda, who finished the race in 1 hr 19 mins 48 sec and Melody Chikonzi in third place with 1 hr 31 min 29 sec.
Ebel Chibanda, with 1 hr 04 min 13 sec, Moses Tarakinyu with 1 hr 04 min 16 sec and Mike Avita 1 hr 23 min 57 sec dominated the male field respectively in the 21,1 km race.
The male veteran’s category was won by Wonder Mukoyi with 1 hr 23 min 27 sec while the female category was won by Barbra Kona with 1 hr 37 min 37 sec.
Other categories include masters run which saw Nyaradzo Funeral Services chief executive officer Philip Mataranyika winning in the male category with 1 hr 58 min 24 sec and Val Annadale in the female category with 2 hrs 03 min 30 sec.
The other categories included the 21 km wheel chair race with Samson Muroyiwa winning the men’s race while Stella Jongwe came first in the women’s category.
In his remarks during the award winning ceremony CBZ chief executive officer Blessing Mudavanhu said he was happy to witness a great event which is important for the financial institution and clients.
CBZ CEO Blessing Mudavanhu
“We are happy that people are coming together to take part in this exercise which saw a great turn out of about 2000 people. I would also want to thank the marketing team as we are using this marathon as a launch pad for our re branding,” said Mudavanhu.
“The marathon went on very well. We had budgeted for around 1700 runners but we ended up going up to 2000 but even at 2000 we had to say to others go home so next year we would like certainly a bigger venue where we can accommodate a lot more people,” added Mudavanhu
The CBZ Harare Marathon saw the 42. 2km, 21.1 km and 10 km winners walking away with $ 20 000, $10 000 and $5000 respectively.