Olympians Cuthbert Nyasango, Wirimayi Juwao and Rutendo Nyahora will headline a strong contingent of local runners in the men and women’s fields for the prestigious Old Mutual Westgate Half Marathon which gets underway in the capital this morning.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The trio, who represented Zimbabwe at last month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will be eager to stamp their authority in Zimbabwe’s most lucrative race which boasts of a lucrative prize purse of $3 000 for the winners in the male and female categories.
Nyahora, who has won the Westgate Half Marathon title three times, will head into today’s race as the strong favourite to clinch a record fourth title as she has been in top form in the road racing circuit in South Africa.
The 28-year-old runner recently defended Pretoria Spar Women’s Challenge women’s 10km race in Johannesburg, South Africa early this month, beating a strong field of South African runners.
Nyahora will, however, be well aware of the tough competition she is likely to face today as she comes up against some of the country’s finest female runners such as Olivia Chitate and Constance Nyasango, among others.
Another fierce battle is also expected in the men’s race where the highly-rated pair of Nyasango and Juwao will need to be at their best to claim the coveted tile.
Elijah Mabhunu of the Zimbabwe Republic Police is the reigning champion in the men’s race, while former champions Kelvin Pangiso from the Zimbabwe Correctional Services and Jacob Mugomeri of Rimuka Athletics Club are also expected to challenge for top honours.
The lucrative race, named after Old Mutual’s premier shopping mall located west of Harare, has grown since 2012 to become a flagship feature on the local athletics calendar.
It will feature three categories — 5km, 10km and the flagship 21km race, which always attracts the big names on athletics circuit in Zimbabwe.
The 5km and 10km categories have also proven to be popular among both professional and non-professional athletes.