THE Bulawayo Athletics Board (Bab) chairman Watson Madanyika says they have started preparing for the return of the PPC Matopos 33-Miler (53km) Ultra Marathon in April.
Sponsors of the event PPC have announced the return of the event which last took place four years ago.
Bab, as the custodian of athletics in the city, assist in the running of the event set for April 6.
“We are excited to have one of our traditional events back on our calendar. As Bab, we are already placing all the mechanisms from our end to make sure the event is a success. Remember this event draws large numbers of athletes and has the best talent in the country on show. Therefore we will not want to have any hiccups which is why we have already started preparing for the big one. We also hope this will see many other marathon events that have not taken place over the years also bouncing back,” said Madanyika.
In the past, the event has attracted close to 3 000 athletes participating in different categories.
The 53km ultra marathon starts inside the Matopo National Park and concludes at Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC). Just after Woolandale Road is where the 21,1km gets underway and ends at BAC as well.
Tshabalala Sanctuary is the starting point for the 10km fun run with its conclusion being at BAC which is also the starting as well as ending point for the 5km race.
The marathon is one of the biggest races which attract top athletes in the country.
Organisers have revealed the marathon will be held on April 6.
In the last edition of the race in 2019, Black Rhinos Athletics Club long-distance runner Andrew Chimbidzikai romped to victory in the PPC Matopos 33-Miler (53km) Ultra Marathon crossing the finishing line in three hours 12 minutes and 37 seconds. Blanket Mine’s Nkosiyazi Sibanda came second with a time of 3 minutes 12 seconds and 23 seconds.
Air Force of Zimbabwe’s Peter Tumbare managed a third-place finish after finishing the race in three hours 12 minutes and 24 seconds. Chiedza Chokore of Mr Pace won the women’s 33-Miler again in three hours 57 minutes and 17 seconds beating her record of four hours nine minutes and 10 seconds set in 2018. Muchaneta Gwata was second in four hours 22 minutes and 53 seconds while Monica Kativhu was third in four hours 24 minutes and 06 seconds.