Friday, February 26, 2010

Comrades Marathon: Seventy-eight Zimbabweans will participate

Seventy-eight Zimbabweans will participate in this year’s Comrades Marathon event, to take place in South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal province in May.

Due to the FIFA 2010 World Cup between June and July, the 85th edition of the Comrades Marathon was this year moved forward to May 30, from its traditional June dates. Without giving any names, organisers of the popular event this week told The Zimbabwean ****** that among the more than 23 000 runners from around the world who have applied to take part in this year’s event, 78 were Zimbabweans. “The response to this event has been overwhelming and among the participants, we will have 78 Zimbabweans running this year,” said Steven Johnston of the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA).

Stephen Muzhingi, who is the defending champion of the men’s event, having won last year’s race in the time of 05:23:27, is once again expected to lead his country’s quest for more honours this year. Second place last year went to Leonid Shvetsov of Russia in 5:33:10 and third place to South Africa’s Charles Tjiane in 5:34:21. Russia’s Olesya Nurgalieva won the 2009 women’s Comrades Marathon in 6:12.12, while her twin sister, Elena Nurgalieva came second in 6:13.14 followed by another Russian, Tatyana Zhirkova in 6:15:03. This year’s race looks set to eclipse the 75th edition of the event in 2000, which currently holds the record for being the largest ever field for the Comrades Marathon, with 23 961 runners.