BY SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
All is set for the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon in the resort town today with a record field of local and international runners expected to take part in the event, which has grown to become the biggest marathon in Zimbabwe as witnessed during last year’s edition.
The Econet Victoria Falls Marathon, staged around the sight of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, has become an important calendar date for marathon runners and fitness enthusiast from around the world and for thousands of Zimbabweans.
It has also become a major drawcard for local and foreign tourists.
The marathon is now in its 13th year and continues to grow, having attracted about 3 500 entries last year, with nearly half of the athletes coming from out of
Zimbabwe, and some travelling from as far afield as Australia.
“We are proud that this is our seventh year of sponsoring the Victoria Falls Marathon, which is now in its 13th year and has become a key calendar event for
athletes, corporate teams, families and individuals who value personal wellness and exercise while at the same time having a great time at a top tourist
resort,” said Douglas Mboweni, the CEO of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, the main sponsor of the marathon.
While this year’s event is expected to attract well over 4 000 participants, organisers are said to have had to limit the entries of actual participants due to
Reports say they have set the maximum number of participants for the full 42km marathon at 800 and 1 850 participants for the 21km half marathon, while
participants in the 7,5km family fun run have been capped at 1 000 entries.
With 54 nations represented at last year’s marathon, this year more countries are expected to be represented at the marathon, which began in 2006 with a total
of only 300 runners participating.
The races today will be the Econet Vic Falls Marathon, the Vaya Victoria Falls Half Marathon, the Steward Bank Team Relay and EcoSure Fun Run.
Mboweni said he was gratified by the economic spin-off that the marathon brings to businesses in the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors in the Victoria
Falls and Hwange towns and communities, and to the country as a whole every year.
“The tourism dividend brought about by the marathon in the resort town and the surrounding communities, and indeed to the nation, is something we are proud to be associated with and hope that it keeps growing,” said Mboweni as reports on Friday indicated that nearly all major hotels and lodges in the area had been
fully booked for the weekend of the marathon.
Mboweni said Econet would continue to promote wellness and healthy lifestyles by supporting events such as the Victoria Falls Marathon.
“We will continue to support events that promote wellness, but above all, our goal is to promote wellness as a lifestyle by encouraging enabling behaviour
changes that make for a healthy life body, soul and spirit,” he said.