Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter
ATHLETICS coach, Collen Makaza, has challenged local distance runners, who will take part in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon tomorrow, to rise to the occasion.
The race presents those seeking qualifying times for next year’s World Athletics Championships with an opportunity.
For men, the qualifying time is 2 hours 11 minutes 30 seconds and, for women it’s 2 hours 29 minutes 30 seconds.
Makaza, who travelled as coach with a number of athletes running under Mr Pace, expects some of them to post qualifying times, for the World Championships.
“It’s going to be a tough race because all athletes from the region want to qualify for the World Championships,’’ he said.
“So, there will be athletes from the likes of Botswana, Zambia, Lesotho and Swaziland and then Kenyans and Ethiopians.
“Those top Kenyans are also coming to this race, so it’s not going be easy.
“But, for us, we are not going to be running for the prize money but we are going to run for time. We only need the qualifying time, which is under 2.11.30, that is our target.
“I think we are going to try and have one or two of the athletes, running under Mr Pace, qualifying.
“And, the other Zimbabwean athletes, who are not under Mr Pace, Ngonidzashe Ncube and Isaac Mpofu, they will also be there and Misheck Sithole as well.
“So, it’s quite a decent group of Zimbabweans, who are going to participate in this event, to try and qualify for World Championships next year.”
Some of the athletes are Munyaradzi Jari, Jonathan Chinyoka, Wellington Varevi, Canicious Wenjere, Winfred Mutiro, Ethel Sibanda and Tryfina Picardo.
“I can say we trained very hard. We did all we were supposed to do, that is speed work, endurance, strength training and hill work.
“So, we have done everything to make sure the athletes are in shape.
“This is a fast course and we want these guys to qualify for the World Championships,” said Makaza.