Pretoria Portland Cement Zimbabwe (PPC), the sponsors of the PPC Matopos 33 Miler Marathon, are giving athletes a tantalising reason to register for the countrya��s elite race after unveiling an increased prize package for the 3 April event.
Last year winners in both categories- men and women a�� of the 33 Miler Ultra Marathon each pocketed $750, a figure set to be increased to $850 this year.
In the Half Marathon, winners in both categories will each receive $400 while relay teams in the Half Marathon will take home $250.
Wheelchair winners in both the men and womena��s categories are guaranteed of $300 each.
The total prize package was increased to $13 000 from last yeara��s $10 000.
At least 1 000 participants are expected to grace this yeara��s edition although registration has been slow, according to a member of the organising committee Sizwakele Ndlovu.
Ndlovu attributed it to a last minute rush by athletes a day before the marathon.
a�?We usually encounter a huge influx of athletes registering a day before the marathon. We still expect well over 1 000 participants which is double the figure we recorded last year. Registration will be opened at the Bulawayo Athletic Club,a�? said Ndlovu.
The Matopos 33 Miler Marathon has been sponsored by PPC Zimbabwe since 2013 with this yeara��s edition expected to be broadcast throughout the continent by subscription channel SuperSport as witnessed in the 2015 event.
The Marathon has grown in leaps and bounds with slightly over 300 participants in 2014, a figure that ballooned to over 500 last year.
The course of the Marathon which starts from the Matopo National Park has been measured and certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and also serves as a qualifying event for the Comrades Marathon in South Africa.
The race ends at the Bulawayo Athletic Club.
As part of a PPC Zimbabwe corporate social responsibility initiative the company will identify a school or clinic in Matopo District to develop.
Last yeara��s winners were Lyno Machena in the mena��s category who clocked 3 hours 13 minutes 59 seconds while Lizzie Chikore crossed the line in 3 hours 52 minutes 22 seconds in the ladies category.