Kumwamba’s 80km Puffer ultra marathon record still stands

The record time which Malawi’s international mountain trail long distance (Ultra marathon) specialist, Edson Kumwamba set at 6:54:25hrs when he won the South African Puffer 80km race last year still stands after this year’s event held last Saturday.

Kumwamba after winning last year’s Puffer race

In 2017, Kumwamba ran the race in 7:32:45 and this year’s winner, a white South African named Ian Metcalf, ran it in 7:25, failing Kumwamba’s record by over 31 minutes.

Buoyed by this development, Kumwamba — who has since relocated to Mulanje where he has formed an athletic club, says he intends to participate in the Puffer next year to try and break it.

Some of the races he has been on the podium for include: Ultra Trail Capetown 100km, Jongershoek Mountain Challenge 38km, 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.

There is quite a good number of Malawians who are slowly stamping their authority in South Africa’s athletics market including last year’s Blantyre City Marathon runner-up, Doris Fisher.

Fisher, from Mulanje District, relocated to South Africa where she joined Orcus Academy.

Peter Chiwaya is from Thyolo District, Stanley Jeremiah Mwakhiwa from Phalombe running for Chiltern Athletics Club, Rodrick Dida Phiri from Nkhata Bay, Gloria Chitedze from Mchinji is with Atlantic Athletic Club, Imran Paya from Mbulumbudzi in Chiradzulu and several others, who share their experiences training tips.

On Sunday, Chitedze won silver medal after finishing the John Korasie 30km race while Chiwaya achieved a personal best in the Amathole Marathon on August 5 in a time of 2:48hrs from the 2.49 he did last year.

In 2017, he was third with 2:52 but last year he finished in 3:05 because he was carrying an injury. He is now looking forward for Masters Marathon in East London on Sept 1.

The 35-year-old started serious running at 30 after joining Oxford Striders. He did his first Old Mutual Two Oceans in 2018 in 04:14 and 04:09 in 2019. For the 2018 Comrades, he clocked 9:04 while the 2019 was 07:39.

“Since some of us took up serious running late in life, we usually aim to beat our personal best, the podium comes as a bonus.

“We are always running in time trials at our club, Oxford Striders in East London every Tuesdays and in 2017 I was the winner of time trials at our club.

Last month, Fisher ran the 23rd Mulanje Mountain Porters Race in a time of 2:42:43hrs to retain the title she won last year in a time of 2:38hrs.

Fisher, who has since relocated to South Africa where she joined a professional running club there, came back to defend her title and she said though she trains all the time, her course in SA is usually on flat terrain.

“So I struggled a bit on the climb up this course until I picked up after some time,” said Fisher, who now has her 5th Mulanje Porters Race title.

She is doing well in SA with her club Orcus Academy and in June she ran the 2019 Comrades Marathon in a time of 7:20hrs and earned herself a silver medal.

And just three weeks earlier she had won the Empondoland Marathon in Eastern Cape Province.

Fisher came second in last year’s Blantyre Marathon in 3:20:37, beaten to the title by her Mulanje Porters Race rival, Theresa Master who won in a time of 3:19:49.

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