Mpofu eyes Boston Marathon Marathon runner Isaac Mpofu (file picture).

Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter

MARATHON runner Isaac Mpofu says he is always looking at improving his time each time he competes and is excited to be part of the men’s field for this year’s Boston Marathon in April.

The tough race is scheduled for April 17 in the United States.

He will compete with the likes of double Olympic gold medallist Eliud Kipchoge, reigning champion Evans Chebet as well as 2021 winner Benson Kipruto and two-time winner Lelisa Desisa.

The men’s field for this year’s edition is expected to feature 15 men who have run under 2hours 7minutes.

Mpofu ran 2hours 6minutes 48seconds at the Valencia Marathon in Spain last December.

He is currently working on regaining full fitness as he recovers from a hamstring injury he picked up at the Valencia Marathon.

“I have an injury. It’s a hamstring on my right leg. But I am doing my rehabilitation with (the) physio and I hope I will recover soon, so I can fully join others. As of now I am doing light training,” said Mpofu.

In 2019, he took part at the World Championships and ran a time of 2hours 29minutes 24seconds. However, Mpofu appears to be doing something right and has been making positive strides, improving his times by each race. Last year he ran 2hours 10minutes 24seconds at the Durban International Marathon to qualify for the World Championships.

He finished on position 10 at the global meet in 2hours 7minutes 56seconds, setting a new national record in the process.

He wrapped up the year with the Valencia Marathon in Spain where he broke the national record for the second time when completing the race in 2hours 6minutes 48seconds.

He will be returning to the global meet this year to be staged in Budapest, Hungary, from August 19 to 27. But before that, he is set to compete in the Boston Marathon. “It’s very important, one of the biggest races I am happy to partake in. And competing among the best, it’s always my favourite.”

Mpofu said taking care of his body and maintaining his training programme has been key to his improvement.

“Mostly taking good care of my body, it’s the first step. Then proper diet (and) making sure to stay injury free by doing necessary exercises to strengthen the muscles and enough stretches. And also maintaining the training programme is the key to keep on firing.

“Then comes the prizes for the races. They are a motivation factor too,” said Mpofu.

He was part of the national camps organised by the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe last year to try and assist the runners to qualify for major international competitions, including the World Championships and Paris 2024 Olympic Games. NAAZ appointed a national event coaches team for middle and long-distance athletes headed by Benson Chauke and have been in charge of the camps, and helping athletes targeted for qualification.

The other coaches are Cephas Pasipamire, Zibusiso Nyoni, Collen Makaza and Cuthbert Nyasango.

Another camp is expected to take place early February to prepare athletes chasing qualification to the forthcoming championships. Mpofu is expected to be part of the camp as he prepares for Boston Marathon and Chauke said they hope he can be an inspiration to the other athletes. “Isaac has since gained from the programme and has continued to do well in camp and out of camp in his quest for bettering his times and performance. And also he will be part of the camp, he will be coming into camp.

“We are trying now to probably say Isaac you are going to run with the fastest men in the marathon in Boston. So we want to help him prepare for that, so that we see how far he will go against the fastest pool of those that are going to run the Boston Marathon in April,” said Chauke.

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