SA-based Chiwaya athlete eyeing for Blantyre City Marathon

Having heard of the glamour that is associated with the now revived Blantyre City Marathon, South Africa-based athlete Peter Chiwaya says he is shaping himself up to be properly fit to fight for honours in next year’s edition.

Chiwaya during the Masters Marathon on Sunday
Racing hard

Chiwaya is an ultra runner — races that use mountain and hill trails in which they start on easy pace and finish strong.

However, of late he has participated in several conventional road marathon in his host country, some half others full, in trying to shape himself up ready for the Blantyre Marathon.

On Sunday, he managed to come 2nd during the Masters Marathon in East London, which is strictly for runners who must be over 30 years old and he is 35 years old.

“The race was really good for me because I clocked a personal best of 2:43:16. The winner was 2:39:10 and the third was 2:46:47,” he said.

Blantyre City’s record is at 2:18:40, which was set by veteran Henry Moyo in 2003 while last year’s champion Happy Kings Nchelenje, a Moyale Barracks soldier, finished in a time of 2:27:10, over by 9 minutes and 30 seconds of the record.

Chiwaya’s personal best from the Masters Marathon is 25 minuets from the Blantyre Marathon record and 16 minutes from Nchelenje’s.

“I’ve still got more work to do. And it’s not proper for me just to come to Malawi to escort those top runners there. I need to make sure I’m fit to push.

“I will come next year and will be fit enough by then. My training is to start racing strong and finish strong.

He said he first did the Masters Marathon in 2017 and clocked 2:52 and the following year he finished in 3:05.

“For the 2019 Masters, I was targeting 2:45 and I felt good to beat my own target at 2:43:16.

“It feels good to get a silver medal and my first in three tries of the Masters. Over 800 runners participated and they were not from East London or Eastern Cape only, they came from other provinces too.

“It turns out things are getting better this year. I joined Oxford Striders in 2017 and in my first marathon, the Amathole, my time was 2:49:47. In 2018 it was 2:57 and 2019 I did it in 2:48:43, giving myself the  personal best at 1 minute 4 seconds.

“It has been a good 2019 and I’m looking forward to finish with a great vibe. I have now qualified for the Two Oceans and the Comrades Marathon for 2020 with an A seeding.

“From there, I can be confident enough to try a shot at the Blantyre Marathon from which I want to qualify in representing Malawi at international races,” he said.

There is quite a good number of Malawians who are slowly stamping their authority in South Africa’s athletics market that include last year’s Blantyre City Marathon runner-up, Doris Fisher from Mulanje District Stanley Mwakhiwa from Phalombe District, Rodrick Dida Phiri from Nkhata Bay, Gloria Chitedze from Mchinji and Imran Paya from Mbulumbudzi in Chiradzulu, Nalicy Chirwa and Grevaxio Mpani among many others.

The Blantyre City Marathon is set for October 13 whose proceeds will be channeled to Kachere Rehabilitation Centre at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.

In both categories, the inners will walk away with K1 million prize money and there is also an incentive of K500,000 for any athlete who shall break the 2:18:40 course record set by Moyo in 2003.

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