Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
NICHOLAS Nyengerayi and Chiedza Chokore were yesterday crowned winners of the inaugural Bonaqua Marathon at Old Georgians Sports Club amid confusion as the organisers of the race ended up having two sets of competitors after some of the participants got lost along the way.
The event, which also had the 21km race on offer as well as a 10km and 5km fun run, was being managed by Harare Athletics Club.
The race attracted most of the country’s top long-distance athletes and hopes were high that it was going to be an exciting event but lack of proper organisation along the route saw most of the elite runners in the men’s Open section taking the wrong direction just a few kilometers into the race. They ended up running less than 40km and the organisers had to reward those athletes who felt it was not their fault the route was not properly marked and there was need to have more course marshals to avoid such an incident.
HAC captain Dereck Sigauke said they had to reward both groups
“The solution has been to award both the runners that ran the conventional route and those that got lost, still based on merit because it turns out those that got lost ran the same distance.
“So amongst that bunch that got lost we are selecting the best, number one up to 10, and rewarding them as much as we are rewarding the ones that ran the normal route, there is no distinction there.
“It shouldn’t be much of a problem for the sponsors because as a club we are also absorbing the cost of the additional prizes. However, without apportioning blame on anyone, we marked the route very well,” said Sigauke.
Veteran runner Mike Fokorani was the first to cross the finish line from that bunch of athletes in 2hours 14minutes 16seconds followed by Jonathan Chinyoka Collen Makaza was third.
Fokorani, who is preparing for the Comrades Marathon, said there is need to correct such mistakes in future.
“Of course I am happy but I am not celebrating much because the race didn’t go the way I had planned. But well we just take the situation as it is because this is not the first time to get lost in such big races like this. Maybe they will correct this error next time.
“The guys I competed with are the same people I usually run with and I am happy everyone was there. We were actually encouraging each other even when we got lost. This competition was good for me since I am preparing for Comrades marathon,” said Fokorani.
In the women’s 42km race Chokore clocked 3hours 7minutes to win the race. On second place was Muchaneta Gwata while for those that ran 40km Monica Kativu came first and Tryphina Ricardo was second. Tabitha Tsatsa was on third position. Chokore admitted it was not an easy race and was impressed with her performance.
“The race was okay but the course was tough. I am happy I won but the race was tough, the course was hilly. There was good competition, most of the athletes that were here are good athletes, that’s why I am excited about this victory.
“We really appreciate the effort by Bonaqua, this is a sign they want to assist us as athletes and we will also push on our side to do our best,” said Chokore
The race was sponsored by Coca-Cola and their bottling partner Schweppes Zimbabwe. With over a thousand participants taking part, Coca-Cola senior brand manager Vee Chibanda said they were happy with the turnout.