2019 Blantyre City Marathon shifted to October 13

The second edition of the revived Blantyre City Marathon has been shifted from September 29 to October 13 in order to meet some of its logistics for a successful event.

The Porters Race winners also geared for Blantyre Marathon

All other arrangements such as having the proceeds from the event to be channeled to Kachere Rehabilitation Centre at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre still stand.

The race’s organizing committee chairperson Martin Matululu has confirmed that just like last year, the champion in both categories will walk away with K1 million prize money and there is also an incentive of K500,000 for any athlete who shall break the course’s record of 2:18:40, set by veteran Henry Moyo in 2003.

The race had gone into hibernation before Malawi National Council of Sports decided to revive it and it was won by Moyale Barracks soldier Happy Kings Nchelenje in men’s and Mulanje-based athlete Theresa Master in women’s.

Nchelenje finished in a time of 2:27:10, over by 9:30 minutes of 2:18:40 set by Henry Moyo in 2003 while the women’s champion Master, at 3:19:49.

She overshot her personal best of 2:48:21 she set at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil by 31:28 minutes.

On second place in men’s category was another Moyale soldier-athlete Hosea Chaola in a time 2:27:28, just 18 seconds away while Zomba-based Mphatso Nandolo, in his maiden marathon, was third in 2:28:42.

Runner-up in the women’s category was Doris Fisher from Mulanje in 3:20:37 while Nancy Chirwa represented the North well by coming third in 3:22:35.

In July, Fisher — who has since relocated to South Africa — beat Master during the Mulanje Porters race and this rivalry will definitely manifest itself again during the Blantyre Marathon.

Just like last year, the cut off time for men was set at 2:45hrs and 3hrs for women and in both categories and prizes will be given to the first 10 positions as long as they were within the cut off time.

The race’s organising committee comprise Matululu as the chair, Chifundo Tenthani as the deputy, Thandi Bvalani for catering, Susan Mbejere for protocol, Thom Phodogoma for transportation with Isaac Phiri and Mzee Makawa as technical experts.

Meanwhile, Malawi’s international mountain trail long distance (Ultra marathon) specialist, Edson Kumwamba formed an athletics club in Mulanje, which currently preparing to stamp its authority at the Blantyre City Marathon.

So far Mulanje Athletic Club has 20 athletes both male and female and Kumwamba says they are still receiving more interests.

“Amongst them are this year’s Mulanje Mountain Porters Race men’s winner Evance Nyazule as well as Theresa Master and Dorothy Gawani, who came second and third respectively.

“All the men and six of the girls all did the Porters Race. According to the training programme we are following and based on their performance, I intend to field 15 runners for the Blantyre Marathon.

“Our plan is to hit the Blantyre Marathon by storm. Last year, two of Mulanje athletes, Theresa Master and Doris Fisher came first and second and the rest of my squad are yearning to do well and monopolies the top 10 in both categories.”

Kumwamba, who rose to prominence in ultra races whilst in South Africa, relocated back to his home in Mulanje last year just in time for the Blantyre Marathon, in which he came 11th in his first-ever long road race, in which he clocked 2:50:53hrs, some 23:43 minutes behind the champion, Happy Nchelenje.

He had said he was satisfied with his performance as he gained so much experience to be used for the next marathon that might come his way and it was also part of his training for the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon in Dubai which he participated in December.

However, with the change, Kumwamba says he might miss the Blantyre Marathon as the dates clash with the Orbis Expeditions ‘Sport with a Purpose’ challenge which will be participated by British double Olympics champion, Dame Colonel Kelly Holmes.

Dame Holmes visited Malawi last October to take part in the challenge together with several other volunteers which is aimed at raising funds for projects that promote good nutrition in communities.

After taking part in the event, Kumwamba was made the expedition’s ambassador and he says he can not afford to miss it.

“I will just make sure my athletes should participate in the Blantyre Marathon as it is their wish to make their mark,” he said.

Last year’s edition attracted a total of 72 athletes, of which 59 were men and 13 women.

The route starts at Ginnery Corner Roundabout in Blantyre near NBS Bank to Chichiri Roundabout where it branches off towards Kwacha Roundabout all the way to TVM, past St. Columbus CCAP Church and all the way to Kudya trading centre.

At Kudya, the route heads towards Zingwangwa and all the way to Stella Maris Secondary School where it turns towards Moneymen Club then past Catholic Institute (CI) and reaching Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre Central Business District.

Then it turns to what is popularly known as Kandodo Corner Shop where it branches off to Mbayani heading all the way to Kameza Roundabout before turning towards Machinjiri turn off where there is the Ernegem Filling Station.

The route then heads into Machinjiri, past Luanda Trading Centre; Area 5; Mkolokoti, Makhetha before joining the road from Zomba and going down past Lever Brothers; past Maselema Roundabout and reaching Chichiri Roundabout where it branches off Makata road and enter into Kamuzu Stadium for the finish line in front of the VIP Stand.

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