Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter
ELIJAH Mabhunu is set to join the long-distance runners camp today in Harare in preparation of next month’s Cape Town Marathon in South Africa.
The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe are targeting the Cape Town Marathon to be held on October 15 and 16 in South Africa and the event will see participants competing in the 46km trail, 22km trail, 10km and 5km on October 15 and the marathon is scheduled for October 16.
They are eyeing qualification for 10 000m and men’s marathon.
Mabhunu is one of the several athletes earmarked for qualification to the 2023 World Athletics Championships and is chasing the qualifying time for the 10 000m event.
Mabhunu just returned from Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) Games held in Tanzania and joins Moses Tarakinyu, Wellington Varevi, Tendai Zimuto and Tatenda Hove who are already in camp.
His club coach, Cephas Pasipamire, who is also a member of the national event coaches team for middle and long-distance runners, confirmed he will be joining camp today.
“He is joining camp on Wednesday (today). We just wanted him to rest for a few days.”
The camp is led by head of the national event coaches team for middle and long-distance runners, Benson Chauke.
Mabhunu competed in the 10 000m track event, half marathon, 5 000m and 10 000m cross country during the SARPCCO Games.
He is chasing a qualifying time of 27 minutes 10 seconds.
He ran 29 minutes in Tanzania.
However, Pasipamire said considering that Mabhunu had to compete in several events, they are optimistic he can improve his time ahead of next month’s race.
“His times are okay, even the way he ran at the Games, he actually competed in a number of events and taking that into account and the time he ran, I think he is not that far from the qualifying time.
“He has the speed and during our trainings he ran some good times that’s why I requested for him to get into camp so that he concentrate and can get the qualifying time.
“The army guys are also in camp and they can push him and motivate each other. The camps are giving us results,” said Pasipamire.
Ngonidzashe Ncube, who is chasing qualification for marathon, also joined camp on his return from the SARPCCO Games.
He is expected to compete in Germany early next month.
“I am just polishing up, there isn’t much we are going to do because it’s just two weeks now before my race.
“The Games really helped with the preparation. So far looking at the 21km I ran, the time improved. If I don’t face any challenges between now and the race I am hopeful.
“But marathon is also tricky, you can never tell what will happen on the day of the race,” said Ncube.
He posted his personal best in the half marathon when running 1 hour 2 minutes 43 seconds during the SARPCCO Games.
The qualifying time for men’s marathon is 2 hours 9 minutes 40 seconds.