Noel Munzabwa in MBABANE, eSwatini
VETERAN Zimbabwean female long-distance runner, Thabitha Tsatsa, is headed to eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) ahead of Sunday’s third edition of the Imbube King’s Marathon in which she is a two-time champion.
The race’s starting point is at Somhlolo National Stadium.
The 42,2km race map will take the participants through Lobamba to Manzini and back to the soccer stadium where His Majesty King Mswati III will be expected to crown the winners with a prize money set at R25 000.
But Tsatsa (46), who calls herself “the queen of the road”, is worried age might slow her despite her burning desire to successfully defend her title in the tiny Mountain Kingdom.
“I am going to Swaziland. Of course I have to defend my title. But with my age now I cannot promise anything. And that course is too difficult and abnormal. I was injured after that race until now I am struggling with injuries. It’s too downhill and too steep.
“For me I am not worried about time anymore, but for the youngsters it’s not a good course. It’s the one which is paying well in that country they should find a good course and use it to better their athletes for the world champs or Olympics.
“I am coaching as well and I will always help their athletes and I have helped one of their best performing female who I taught how to manage her races together with other ladies,” said Tsatsa from her South Africa base.
eSwatini seems to have turned into crack Zimbabwe female marathon veteran fertile ground after she bagged the first two editions of Imbube King’s Marathon 42km women’s title.
She bagged the 2017 edition in 3 hours 08 minutes 10 seconds.
The veteran Zimbabwean runner walked away with R25 000, a floating trophy and the majestic and royal winners’ handshake from His Majesty King Mswati III at the prize giving ceremony held at Somhlolo National Stadium.
“I must say that it was a very tough route both up and down the hill. For a slower runner like me the route is not as bad, but for a fast runner, it could have an effect on the muscles.
“It was endurance that kept me going and I’m happy with my performance,” she said.