K1m up for grabs at Nov 18 Blantyre Marathon: Further K0.5m if record broken 

Organizers Malawi National Council of Sports has pledged MK1 million for the men’s winner of the November 18 Blantyre Marathon and that a further MK500 000 shall be given to that athlete if he is going to break a record.

Kumwamba  training in Mulanje in preparation for Blantyre City Marathon

For the women, the champion shall go home with MK800,000 and a further MK400 000 if she shall break the record.

The cut off time for men is set at 2 hours 45 minutes and 3 hours for women. In both categories, prizes shall be given to first 10 positions as long as they are within cut off time.

Through fliers that Sports Council has released, registration process has been opened whose deadline is November 15 and the fee is MK10 000 per athlete. For those interested to participate in the relay that has been organized the fee is MK20 000 per team and the relays are 4x100m and 4x400m.

Dubbed ‘Changing Lives; The Blantyre Marathon’, registration centers are at: Mzuzu Regional Sports Office, Kamuzu Institute for Sports, Zomba Community Centre, Blantyre Youth Centre, Sports Council offices at Chichiri and all district sports offices.

People can also register through the following numbers: 0888866016, 0884944481 and 0888829402. Sports Council is also appealing to the public to register as volunteers through 0995684682 and for interested companies and organizations wishing to market their brands to contact 0992836054.

The course for the Blantyre Marathon, previously known as Nico Marathon until the insurance company pulled out its sponsorship in 2006, 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.

The last Blantyre Marathon champion was Mike Tebulo while veteran Henry Moyo won it twice. This year’s strong favourite contender is Kefasi Kasteni and probably Malawi’s international long distance (Ultra marathon) competitor South Africa-based Edson Kumwamba.

Kumwamba, who is in the country from September 8 to train for a race back in South Africa, heard about the Blantyre Marathon that inspired himto change his training strategy so that he should try a shot at the conventional Marathon.

On September 1, he came second in 44kms Table Mountain Challenge in South Africa in a time of 4hrs 41min 23secs in which there were 440 runners and the winner was a Zimbabwean, Bernard Rukadza — his most adversary.

Some of the races he has been on the podium for include: Ultra Trail Capetown 100km, Jongershoek Mountain Challenge 38km, Puffer 80Km, Mont Blanc 90km (France), Mulanje Porters Race 24km, Marloth Mountain Challenge 55km, Batrun 30km, Table Mountain Challenge 44km, Dryland Traverse 110km and Salomon Bastille Day 35km.

Some of  his personal records are three, Bastille Day 35 km in 2hrs 56min, the 80km Ultra PURfe 6hrs 54 mins (which was a record done in August) and Batrun 30 km in 2hrs 40min.

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.

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