Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
ORGANISERS of the PPC Matopos 33-Miler Ultra-Marathon have added the 10km run to this year’s event and scrapped the relays.
Speaking at the official launch of the 2017 edition of the competition at the PPC Zimbabwe Bulawayo offices, area manager Nkosana Mapuma revealed that the sponsorship package had been increased and the 10km race had been included to add flair to the competition.
The PPC 33-Miler Ultra-Marathon, whose course was measured and certified by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), is set for Saturday April 1.
“There are good incentives this time around as we have increased the prize package by more than 17 percent from $13 700 to $16 100.
“We’ve also scrapped the relay event and replaced it with the 10km race, which will start at Tshabalala Game Sanctuary. We expect a bigger turnout this time around and that is why we’ve decided to have the competition on Saturday instead of Sunday so that people who will register for the race get time to recover before starting their working week,” said Mapuma.
By introducing the 10km race, organisers have made it easier for school going athletes to participate in the competition.
In their quest to attract a big turnout, organisers have also arranged an aerobics session to be held in Bulawayo a week before the competition.
“Leading up to race day, PPC Zimbabwe is proud to partner with Proactive Gym, Bulawayo to bring all fitness lovers a free Zumba aerobics and spinning event by some of Bulawayo’s top trainers on March 25.
“The public is welcome to contact PPC Zimbabwe for further details,” said Kelibone Masiyane, the company’s managing director.
Masiyane believes the race puts Bulawayo into the spotlight.
The PPC 33-Miler Ultra-Marathon attracts experienced athletes, some who use the event to prepare for the Comrades Marathon to be held later this year in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Air Force of Zimbabwe road-runner Peter Tumbare is the defending champion of the 33-Miler, having won the men’s main event in three hours 12 minutes 10 seconds, while Monica Kativhu came first in the women’s category crossing the line in four hours two minutes and 45 seconds.
Olympian Wirimai Juwawo won the men’s Half-Marathon in one hour seven minutes and 23 seconds, while Chiedza Chokore came first in the women’s race in one hour 21 minutes and 14 seconds.
The defending champions are expected to lead a number of top runners that will compete in this year’s edition.