Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
Organisers of the internationally acclaimed Econet Victoria Falls Marathon have extended the online registration deadline to June 24 in order to give aspiring athletes more days to register for the race which is set for July 7.
The initial deadline was June 14.
“We’ve got good news for runners who have not yet entered the 2019 Econet Victoria Falls Marathon. The race organisers have agreed to extend online entries for all events until 24 June. The half marathon is more than 70 percent sold out — when it’s full we will close entries. Please do not wait until the last minute. Entries will be cut off when the limits are reached or at midnight on 24 June — whichever comes first,” wrote the organisers on their website.
“If there are still race numbers that have not been sold by 24 June, these will be available to purchase on a “first come first served” basis at number collection which will be held at the Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls on 5 and 6 July. We will advise how many entries will be available at registration on the website and social media closer to the time. No race numbers will be available on race day. We look forward to seeing you all in Victoria Falls on 7 July,” reads the statement.
Entry fees were initially exclusively pegged at US$15 for locals for the full and half marathon while the fun run was US$5.
However, following an outcry that the event would turn into an elite affair, organisers changed tune and said locals would be allowed to pay using EcoCash at the prevailing inter-bank rate on the day of payment.
“Due to the introduction of RTGS dollars in Zimbabwe on 25 February 2019, the organisers of the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon 2019 have had to make adjustments to online entries. The organisers are aware that there is limited access to US dollars for Zimbabwe citizens. For this reason, the online entry portal will accept EcoCash payments from 1 June,” said the organisers in a statement.
The EcoCash payment method is limited to Zimbabwean citizens only and proof of citizenship will be required on collection of numbers.
Full and half marathon aspirants are expected to pay RTGS$105 via EcoCash while Steward Bank Half Marathon Relay costs are RTGS$175 per team of two, with the fun run pegged at RTGS$35.
Organisers expect to register 800 runners for the full marathon, 1 850 for the half marathon and 1 000 runners for the 7,5km fun run. There will be 200 runners for the relay. Foreign participants that will be using the Victoria Falls border are advised to cross a day earlier as the border and bridge will be closed on July 7 until the marathon races have taken off. The event was inaugurated in 2006 and has attracted thousands of local and international runners over the years, making it one of the prime African races.