All systems have been put in place and some are being finalised ready for Sunday’s Blantyre Marathon which has been revived by Malawi National Council of Sports and the pledged K1 million for the men’s winner still stands and that a further MK500,000 shall be given to that athlete if he is going to break the record of 2hrs;18min;40secs set by Henry Moyo in 2003.
For the women, the champion shall go home with MK800,000 and a further K400 000 if she shall break the record of 2hrs;48min;21secs set by Theresa Master. Master set that record at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil, which was her personal best at the world event.
The cut off time for men is set at 2hrs;45min and 3hrs for women. In both categories, prizes shall be given to first 10 positions as long as they are within the cut off time.
At a press conference on Thursday, chairperson of the main organising committee Martin Matululu said they are still compiling the list of registered athletes for the marathon since the deadline was Thursday, November 15.
Franked by members of the main organising committee, Mzee Makawa and Francis Chiphwanya for technical planning and Unkhaku Ng’oma for publicity and marketing, Matululu said the race will start at 6am on Sunday for the main marathon followed by a relay race 30 minutes later while a fun run is scheduled from 7am.
He said they were pleased with the rapid response they received calling for volunteers and the number is at 79 to assist in various roles including for water and medical points along the route.
“We have a special medical committee to be manned by qualified medical personnel and there will be placed at strategic points. The athletes needing help away from medical points shall be picked up by ambulances we have also organized.
“We have also organized cameras which will also be positioned at various strategic points to monitor every athlete who crosses those points to make sure that no one cheats,” Matululu said.
He added that they are expecting athletes from all three regions of the country but the South has dominated.
The theme of the event is ‘Changing Lives’ and was designed to be an all encompassing in order to attract not just the serious athletes but also members of the community and thus they included the relay race and the fun run as part of the event.
“That is why we chose the route that passes through the densely populated townships of the city to create hype and awareness of the marathon, whose goal is to make it an annual international event,” Matululu said.
The marathon 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.
Matululu said tight security has also been put in place all along the route and those involved have been equipped with walkie talkies.
The last Blantyre Marathon champion was Mike Tebulo while veteran Henry Moyo won it twice and set that record which the organisers are challenging this year’s participants to break.
Makawa said some of the senior athletes who have registered include John Kayange, Grevazio Mpani, Mike Tebulo, Francis Khanje, Emmanuel Chimzeka, Godfrey Mpunga and also several others from the Malawi Defence Force.
In an earlier interview with Nyasa Times, Sports Council’s Sports Development Manager Ruth Mzengo said they intend to maintain the race, that has been dormant for many years, as an annual event and to make it very glamorous that it can open up for international participation from next year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :