Nyamutsita, Mhandu win Tanganda marathon

MUTARE - Tanganda Half Marathon winners’ medals have changed hands for the third year running with seasoned campaigner Canisious “Navara” Nyamutsita and unheralded Caroline Mhandu being crowned male and female category winners.

Last year, without Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) athletes Kelvin Pangiso and Patience Murove to defend their titles the unpredictable duo of Misheck Sithole and Rudo Mhonderwa took the top gongs.

Navara hit the ribbon in 1:05:53 which was 17 seconds slower than Sithole’s 1:05:36. Nyamutsita was himself the second runner-up last time out in 01:06:37.

Olympian Wirimai Juwawo’s record which he pegged at 1:02:43 in the 2012 race is still standing.

Pangiso had won the race in 2015 and 2016 in 1:05:17 and 1:06:05 respectively before vowing that the Zhuwawo’s record could not be bettered as there was a course adjustment that may have come with a two-kilometre route extension.

This theory is, however, disputed by race organisers.

Manicaland Athletics Board (MAB) chairperson Joshua Matume insisted that Zhuwawo’s time remains a legitimate benchmark as the race remains 21km.

Matume noted that Juwawo was at the peak of his powers as he had also just participated in the Olympics that same year.

Mhandu came home first in the female category in 1:21:52 a second faster than Ethel Sibanda who came in hot on her heels in 1:21:53 with Muchaneta Gwata taking the last podium position in 1:24:54.

This was a woeful slump in performance by the female athletes.

In 2016, Murove won the race in 1:19:08, Patience Garauzivo was second in 1:18:41 with Bertha Chikanga taking a close third position in 1:18:42 all of which were way faster than this year’s winner.

Tendai Chimusasa, however, holds the overall national record with 1:00:26.

The Tanganda Half Marathon is a major domestic long distance running competition which began in the 1980s but took a hiatus with a depressed economy induced sabbatical between 2004 and 2011.

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