Sports Council partners with fitness club to spice up Sunday’s Blantyre Marathon

For the 2019 Blantyre Marathon set for Sunday, June 20, the organisers have added an aerobics session to spice up the event as people wait for the arrival of the athletes at Kamuzu Stadium.

It will be done by a top top aerobics fitness club, Fitness Revival Brigade and attracts a participation fee of K2,000.

Kumwamba (left) and two of his athletes

Aerobics exercise sessions have gained popularity across the cities of the country and almost every weekend various venues are filled up the exercise enthusiasts.

Also on menu are various games the organising committee have arranged as well as relay races.

Meanwhile, long distance athlete, Edson Kumwamba — whose Mulanje Athletic Club fielded six athletes for the 2019 Blantyre Marathon — said he had planned to increase the number to 18 but he can’t afford the K360,000 needed as entry fee at K20,000 each.

In the 2019 edition, his club member Jafali Jossam managed to be on the winners podium in his first-ever marathon in a time of 2:34:37hrs — which was 36 minutes away from national record set some 18 years ago by by retired marathoner Henry Moyo in 2013.

“We had been preparing so hard for this edition having been excited with our performance in 2018 and we wanted to increase the numbers this time around,” he said.

“But it had been a headache as the registration fee has been increased at K20,000 each and I can’t afford to raise the K360,000. All eyes are on me because most of my athletes are young and are from remote areas as such they can’t afford to pay such amount of money on their own.

“So I have just managed to raise registration fees for just 7 athletes. The ones I targeted and left out are very disappointed having prepared so hard only to miss out and wait for another year.

“I am encouraging them that they haven’t trained for nothing — they are preparing for the future as well. We tried to negotiate to reduce the fee but it didn’t work.”

At a press briefing on Friday to announce that all is set for the third edition of the marathon on Sunday, June 20, chairperson of the organising committee, Martin Matululu, said the registration — whose deadline was initially set at June 6, was extended to June 18.

He said this was in response to calls from athletes who pleaded that they were still raising the K20,000 registration fee.

Matululu said as of Friday, there were 33 individual men and two women registered but they expect more athletes by the end of business on Friday, June 18.

Meanwhile, after been satisfied with Jossam’s performance when he clinched third place, Kumwamba decided to prepare his athletes to be in top form to grab all prize giving positions when he organised two prize giving races — a 10km race on March 28 followed by a 31km on May 2.

In his first-ever 42.2km marathon, Jossam was just shy by 5:01 minutes away from the champion, Zomba-based Mphatso Nadolo, who clocked 2:29:38.

The women category was represented by Dorothy Gawani, who came 4th in 3:18:58, which was 13:03 minutes from champion, South Africa-based Nalicy Chirwa, who finished in 3:05:55.

And she was behind last year’s champion, Theresa Master — also from Mulanje — who clocked 3:17:11, to claim third place. The women’s second position was taken by last year’s runner-up, Doris Fisher in 3:16:31 (also from Mulanje).

The other Mulanje athletes were Elias Chapola, who was 6th in 2:40:02 while Kumwamba himself (who came 11th in the 2018 edition) was 7th in 2:41:38.

Evance Nyazule came 15th in 2:58:36 while Yohane Dalion was 24th in 3:28:34.

Kumwamba says Jossam was a football players when he spotted the potential in him and asked him to join the club and his first race was the Mulanje Porters Race in July 2019 in which he came 5th.

That performance, Kumwamba said convinced him to give a try a short at the full marathon and getting into top 3 was such a phenomenon performance to him and he is geared up to do much better since he experienced the route.

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.

It then heads into Machinjiri, past Luwanda 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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