Blessing Waison of Cadence Academy won this year’s Old Mutual Harare marathon at Old Georgians in Harare yesterday.
Waison, crossed the finish line in 2 hours 17 minutes 43 seconds to beat other top athletes such as Kelvin Pangiso, who came second in 2 hours 18 minutes 39 seconds.
The Mutare-born athlete was impressed with his performance after claiming the top spot, which came with a US$1000 prize.
He noted that it was a tough competition with most top athletes taking part in the race.
“The race was tough because all the top athletes were here. I was trying to help my club-mate Godwin Katakura, who managed a third-place finish. I managed to break through at the 26km peg and from there I managed to maintain my position.
“I was well prepared because I am also preparing for a race in Botswana in two weeks. So this allows me to see my preparedness. I have been training hard and I thank my coaches at Cadence Academy for their efforts in pushing me.
“I had a good start from the starting point because I knew that I was fit. After 26 kilometres, I maintained my speed until I crossed the finish line.
“I am really happy because I have been improving and I am getting there. My performance keeps on encouraging me to hope for the best, such as doing well at the upcoming race in Botswana,” said Waison.
Katakura came third in 2 hours 19 minutes and 12 seconds, with seasoned athlete Jonathan Chinyoka coming fourth in a time of 2 hours 21 minutes 29 seconds.
Rutendo Nyahora was the winner in the women’s category when she powered to the top spot in 2 hours and 50 minutes 8 seconds.
Nyahora, who is targeting the 2024 Olympic qualifiers, could not hide her joy after winning the women’s title yesterday and attributed her success to hard work.
The seasoned athlete got US$1000 for her efforts.
“I am happy with my performance today. It’s like everything went according to my plan.
“It was not easy for me as I am preparing for Olympics qualifiers next month. I have been working hard since the be-ginning of this year focusing on my big races. I have been preparing for this since the beginning of the year and I am so happy with my time today.
“I am so happy and I look forward to reducing my time by five minutes so that I beat the Olympic qualification time.
“This year the competition was not that tough for me as I managed to keep the first position from the start to the end,” said Nyahora. Chiedza Chokore was second with a time of 2 hours and 59 minutes 20 seconds while Anna Chirisa came third in 3 hours 5 minutes 12 seconds.
Moses Tarakinyu won the 21km race in 1 hour 4 minutes 37 seconds and was followed by Wellington Varevi in second place in 1 hour 6 minutes 1 second.
Wayne Kabondo crossed the finish line in 1 hour 8 minutes 36 seconds.
Ethel Pangiso emerged winner in the women’s section in 1 hour 19 minutes 10 seconds.
Melody Chikonzi and Ossly Murambidzi were second and third in 1 hour 22 minutes 12 seconds and 1 hour 25 minutes 7 seconds respectively. More than 700 athletes took part in the event.