Nkosilathi Sibanda, Sports Reporter
MISHECK Sithole navigated the strenuous uphill run to win this year’s Tanganda Half Marathon in record time of 1 hour 6 minutes on Sunday.
Sithole, who runs under the Mr Pace Athletics Club, registered his second Tanganda Half Marathon race after grabbing gold in 2017.
Ngonidzashe Ncube was second in 1 hour 6 minutes 31seconds, while last year’s champion Cannicious Nyamutsita finished eighth.
Africa World Championships bound Munyaradzi Jari settled for fifth, a feat that did not bother him much as he claimed that he was preparing for the Doha event in September.
In the women’s race, veteran long distance runner Olivia Chitate claimed the top gong in a time of 1 hour 19 minutes.
Caroline Mhandu, another veteran, was second in the women’s category in 1 hour 20 minutes.
The 21km run changed route this year, with runners being presented with a surprise undulating course to contend with in the lower Vumba Mountains terrain.
Organisers said they felt the need to challenge athletes on extended uphill runs to bring out their tenacity and test for strength and endurance. Apart from the daring run, the new Tanganda Half Marathon route presented a refreshing scenery of the Eastern Highlands.
Sithole said he least expected to win and was only sure after leading the pack in the last 5km.
“It was not as easy. Running uphill for more than 15km was really challenging. It brought out a lot from us, because we were used to the old route. Winning the race was such an experience, even though it was not the first time,” Sithole said.
More than 1 200 athletes took part in what was the biggest pool of competitors in the race’s history.
Tanganda Tea Company financial director Henry Namaire said they were honoured by the athletes’ interest in the event.
“Tanganda Half Marathon is growing and that is seen by the number of runners taking part. This is encouraging to the company as we promise to continue supporting the success of athletes and other sport codes in the country,” said Namaire.