Mphatso Nadolo and Nalicy Chirwa on Sunday defended the Blantyre Marathon titles in men and women’s events, respectively, breaking their previous times.
The competition returned after a year’s absence due to Covid-19.
The men’s champion clocked 2:22:58 hours, breaking his 2019 time of 2:29:20 while the women’s champion did it in 3:04:47. Her previous race’s time was 3:05:00.
Kefasi Kasiten was the runner-up in men’s category after clocking in 2:24:54, Jafalie Kossam won bronze in 2:27:44 while the inaugural competition’s champion Happy Mcherenje was fourth.
In the women’s event, Doris Fisha won silver in 3:13:13 after leading the race up to the 30 kilometre-mark. Foreign athlete Carloline Brady finished third in 3:16:56, but she forfeited her position to Dorothy Gawanani who clocked 3:25:34 because the race was only open to local athletes.
In an interview after the race, Nadolo attributed the time-breaking performance to good competition.
He said: “It was a tough competition with good athletes, but I managed to pull through. I trailed Kefasi Kasiteni for about 35 kilometres before I outpaced him to win.”
Chirwa also said it was a good competition, considering that the organising committee provided refreshments.
In his remarks, Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama commended Malawi National Council of Sports for sponsoring the event, saying it will help develop the sport.
He also applauded the athletes for taking part.
“I would like to commend all the athletes that participated because to run a marathon requires one to have a tough mind,” Msungama said.
The minister also appealed to Sports Council to introduce the race to other regions.
On his part, Sports Council board chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise assured the minister that they will introduce the race to other regions.
“We are very impressed with the race. As such, we cannot restrict it to Blantyre. We will sit down to see how we can take this to other regions as well to develop athletes who can represent the country in international competitions,” he said. In men’s and women’s category, champions received K1 million each, second-placed got K500 000, third-placed K250 000, fourth-placed pocketed K125 000. There were also consolation prizes for positions five to 10.