VETERAN Blanket Mine runner Nkosiyazi Sibanda yesterday surrendered the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon title to his teammate Christopher Gondwe who romped home in two hours 25 minutes and 36 seconds.
Gondwe relegated defending champion Sibanda to 8th place finish in the full marathon.
The winner shied away from the media as he immediately disappeared from the finishing venue.
His teammate Sibanda was way short of clinching a possible sixth title as he only managed to finish in two hours 27 minutes and three seconds, six minutes slower than his last year’s two hours 21 minutes and eight seconds finish that won him the race.
The 38-year-old Sibanda who ran in the 10km race at the recent Tanganda marathon, said it was not his day.
“Days are different and sometimes you don’t get to win but I will be around again next year,” he said.
In second place was Zambian Costern Chiyaba who finished eight seconds slower than Gondwe in two hours 25 minutes and 44 seconds.
Two other veterans Peter Tumbare and Mike Fokoroni (veterans category) finished sixth and 10th in two hours 26 minutes and 10 seconds and two hours 27 minutes and 40 seconds respectively.
In the females 42km category, Felistas Chitoshi was the winner after finishing in two hours 52 minutes and 31 seconds, ahead of veterans Chiyedza Chokore and Tabitha Tsatsa who romped home in two hours 58 minutes and 2 seconds and three hours six minutes and six seconds respectively.
Another veteran Margreth Mahohoma finished fourth in three hours 2 minutes 20 seconds.
In the males half marathon Moses Tarakinyu of Black Rhinos was the champion after finishing in one hour five minutes and 47 seconds ahead of Nedbank’s Abel Chibanda who completed the race two seconds later.
The two had a see-saw affair after the 12km peg when they opened the gap on other contestants, with Tarakinyu managing to spring to the finish line in the last 400-metre lap.
In the half marathon female category experience counted as Veterans Olivia Chitate, Rudo Mhonderwa and siblings Constance and Faith Nyasango finished in the top four in that order.
Chitate who was defending champion in the full marathon, decided to go for the half marathon yesterday and finished in one hour 19 minutes and 52 seconds while second placed Mhonderwa finished in one hour 22 minutes and 18 seconds.
The Nyasango siblings managed one hour 23 minutes and 16 seconds and one hour 23 minutes and 40 seconds respectively.
The wheelchair 21km male and female categories were won by Elford Moyo and Thandi Ndlovu who reached the finishing line in one hour four minutes and 30 seconds and one hour 26 minutes and 34 seconds respectively.
Precious Wiri (male) and Moline Muza (female) were the winners in the hand cycle category after romping home in one hour eight minutes and 20 seconds and one hour 53 minutes and 21 seconds respectively.
Full marathon winners walked away US$900 richer each while the half marathon got US$500 each, with the hand cycle and wheelchair receiving US$375 each.
The new route began at the usual starting point near the banks, down along Livingstone Way to the Bridge and back into Zambezi Drive along the Zambezi River and past the Big Tree, connecting to Park Way into the Zambezi National Park where it was gravel for about 4km.
Runners reconnected into Park Way as they exited the national park and branched towards Victoria Falls Safari Lodge up into the residential area before ending at Farm School.
A total of 3 518 runners from 43 countries including Zimbabwe, which had 2 657 took part in the 42,2km full marathon, 21,1km half marathon and 7,5km fun run.