Old Mutual Vumba race on today


MUTARE - The fifth edition of the Old Mutual Vumba Mountain Run half-marathon is on today.

With a change in finishing point from Leopard Rock Hotel to Vumba Botanical Gardens, the race course which now pushes the starting line further down Zimbabwe’s biggest mountain range will be more challenging.

Manicaland Athletics Board (Mab) chairperson Joshua Matume said they were ready and all the big names are billed to compete in the race.

“This is now a major event that no serious athlete would want to miss out on and indeed all the big names are in,” Matume said.

He added that with the starting point being pushed down the mountain making it more challenging he is curious to see the times that will be recorded.

“We are all curious to see if indeed the course’s expected difficulty will reflect in slower times or if this is just the impression we are having,” Matume said.

He said the shift was also meant to promote sport tourism by opening up Vumba resorts to greater exploration.

Matume said he also expects an increase in the number of participating athletes to grow from about 500 last year to 600.

The race was launched with a handful of athletes in 2011, growing to 153 in 2012, going past 400 in 2013.

“We are expecting a large contingent of athletes as it will most probably be the last race of the year in the country and most athletes will want something to take home for Christmas,” Matume said.

The race also doubles as a fundraiser for local environmental protection efforts which are led by Wildlife Environmental Protection Unit (Wepu) in Vumba — an association of environmental organisations operating in the scenic area.

Matume said Old Mutual has made indications that they will increase funding although they are yet to reveal the financial package.

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