The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe have said they are looking forward to a bigger event for this year’s JM Busha 54 races marathon on Friday, with foreign athletes expected to be part of the event.
The marathon is sponsored by JM Busha 54 races, a non-profit organisation involved in social investment programmes aimed at promoting sport, education, peace, unity and harmony among people and nations.
The race will start and finish at Alex Sports Club.
And the organisers made some adjustments to the main race to make it a 54km race from last year’s 42km.
NAAZ president, Tendai Tagara, said they are pleased with the support they have been getting in the recent past years as sponsors continue to come on board.
This is the second edition of the race that was held for the first time last year with over 500 athletes taking part.
“We are happy that we have more races and athletes have more choice. It also enhances competition.
“We are now doing well in road race with our athletes qualifying for marathon in international events such as the World Championships.
“We are happy this year the event is not 42km but 54km. The idea of it is to be in line with the concept of 54 countries in Africa, the concept of the 54 marathon is to celebrate peace in Africa.
“We are expecting a better turnout than last year when we had 500 to 600 athletes. So we are now expecting a thousand this year,” said Tagara.
Apart from the main race, there is also the 21km, 10.54 and 5.4km races on offer.
“We have invited a lot of people, including schools, and they are running in the 10km and 5km races.
“The idea of having school children is we want to develop more middle distance runners at junior level, that’s why we included the 10km and 5km races because we discourage them from taking part in 21km,” added Tagara.
Harare Athletics Board chairperson Sebastian Garikayi said they were looking forward to hosting this year’s edition and were finalising their preparations to ensure they have another successful event.
This year’s event will also include cycling and golf as the sponsors spread their wings to other sporting disciplines.