Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
IT was a Zimbabwe Republic Police affair yesterday at the Nyaradzo Harare Athletics Club Memorial 32km run when their runners Munyaradzi Jari and Rutendo Mapindu claimed first position in the men and women’s open categories. The race was run on largely flat terrain through Mount Pleasant and Borrowdale suburbs of Harare. It started at Old Georgians Sports Club and ended at the same venue.

Jari, a seasoned runner, had a good start to his season as he romped to victory in 1hour 47minutes 38seconds to beat Gilbert Mutandiro to second place. Mutandiro clocked 1hour 48minutes 24seconds and in third position was Peter Tumbare in 1hour 50minutes 20seconds.

The victory for Jari came at the right time as he is currently preparing for the Lagos marathon on February 10 in Nigeria, where he is eyeing qualification for next year’s World Championships.

“The competition was a little bit tough. But for me I was just running as part of my training since I am preparing for Nigeria on the 10th of February. I am going to compete in Nigeria in order to qualify for World Championships next year. So that was my main plan.

“So with this performance I can even see that I am going to do better. I want to be the first person to qualify for the World Championships,” said Jari.

Mapindu made sure she completed a successful day for the ZRP team on a high note when she crossed the finish line first in 2hours 17minutes ahead of teammate and seasoned runner Olivia Chitate in the women’s section.

The 27-year-old who is still new in road races was elated following her victory.

“I was nervous at the beginning but I just pushed myself because my last race in December I fell towards the end of the race. But my coach Cephas Pasipamire encouraged me to keep training.

“And my role model is Olivia Chitate, she is my teammate also. She always encourages me, even today we were running together and she was pushing me. She told me to go for it and I did. So these are the people who motivate me.

“The route was not that new to me because part of it, is the same route we use during training. But it was tough because there were some top athletes,” said Mapindu.

The winners got $300.

Chitate ran 2hours 20mins to come second while Margaret Mahohoma was third in 2hours 37minutes 19seconds. Nyaradzo Group chief executive Philip Mataranyika said they were happy with yesterday’s turnout and are keen on supporting this annual race.

The race is held in memory of HAC athletes who passed on.

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