ALL is set for the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon on Sunday with a number of international long-distance athletes expected to take part in the event.
The race is a qualifying event for the region’s top ultra-marathons the Comrades and Two Oceans which are both held in South Africa.
Although he could not say how many athletes had registered, the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe vice-president Enias Nhoro confirmed that quite a number had done so.
“The registration is being done in Victoria Falls as well as online. At the moment I cannot say how many athletes have registered, but there were also international athletes interested. There are a number of Botswana athletes that are expected to take part but I am not sure whether they have registered,” he said.
Nhoro said all was set for the competition and that they were expecting athletes to rise to the level of competition.
“What we are waiting for now is for the athletes to finally come and participate. We are hoping for high quality performance and that the athletes will rise to the level of competition,” he said.
Some of the country’s top long-distance athletes are expected to take part in the competition.
Nkosiyazi Sibanda, who won the marathon last year, has already confirmed his participation with the hope that he would successfully defend the 42,2km title.
He finished last year’s race in two hours 19mins 11secs which was a minute more than the qualifying time for the 2016 Olympics and the World Championships.
The qualifying time for the Olympics is two hours 15mins for the ‘A’ Standard and two hours 18mins for the ‘B’ standard and the World Championships.
Other athletes expected to take part include Michael Ngaaseke, Leonard Koki, Wirimai Juwawo, Kevin Pangiso, George Majaji, Lyno Muchena, Charles Soza, Alfred Benhura and Peter Mavura.
In the women’s category veteran long-distance athlete Samukeliso Moyo who won the race in two hours 54mins 44secs is expected to defend her title.
She could compete against the likes of Monica Kativhu, Constance Nyasango, Chiedza Chokore and Faith Nyasango. Winners of this year’s race will walk away with $800 with the second-placed athletes getting $675, 500 for third, $400, 300, $200, $150, $100, $75 and $50 for the fourth to tenth athlete respectively. In the half marathon, the winners will walk away with $450 each.