Well, the 29th June was another great day of running in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe…perfect running weather, cool, clear and dry. Everything seemed to line up to make this event very special, an amazing sunrise, clouds of pink spray over the Falls bridge, herds of buffalo along the route and a few elephant too. Impala, kudu, warthog, mongoose, baboon and others were all lined up to watch the race (note – the safety of runners is provided for by National Parks scouts on the road before and during the event, in areas where there is game).
Over 1280 registered in the three events ( 42 / 21 / 7.5km), the biggest field so far, from as far away as Japan, and as near as Kasane. Some, top athletes … many, social runners coming to enjoy true Zimbabwe hospitality, running though a World Heritage Site, along the banks of the Zambezi River and into the National Park, and of course the famed after race sunset cruise and party.
The “ new improved “FUN RUNdrew a record of 300 entries, and was loved by participants, taking in a portion of the marathon routes along the Zambezi, as well as the shady residential areas … now a longer 7.5 km, this race is a lot more fun for joggers and walkers alike.
The FULL race had a great field of 240 entrants, some who took over 6 hours to finish, but well done to them as this is an achievement in itself, and the slower runners had great social crowd support out there on the road. Again, a new route was well appreciated by all.
The new Econet Corporate Challengeand Schools Challenge are attracting some interest, and can only grow, and ALL the sponsors have taken a new look at the culture of running and fitness amongst their staff which can only be for the good … a healthy work force is a happy work force.
It was in the HALF that the event went crazy, with over 740 entrants crossing the bridge in a riot of colour and blurred legs, under the pink spray of the falls. Some ran for money, some for charity, some for a laugh, but all had fun and enjoyed the route immensely, with the cooler June weather making it a lot more enjoyable for all events.
As well as fun, the event did well. The economic benefits to the town cannot be calculated, with many hotels being full or nearly so over the weekend, and bars, taxis, restuarants etc. all doing great business.
Our chosen charities The Painted Dogs Conservation,The Vic Falls Anti-Poaching Unit and theRose of Charity Orphanage, also benefited from a share of the entry money, and we employed over 100 people over the weekend – marshals, national parks staff, police, officials etc.
Finally, a success story in the Falls which I am very proud of, as it shows what an event like this can do – Cathy Hove, a mature woman who works for National Parks in Victoria Falls, was motivated to start jogging by our first event in 2006 … last year, she said the 5 km was too short for her. This year, she completed her first half marathon!!!!! Well done Mrs Hove!! Next year, the Full??
And so to our sponsors, partners, suppliers and runners – we salute you all and thank you. Without each and every one of you, this event would not take place.
For more details, photo’s, results, please log onto our website Vic Falls Marathon or feel free to contact any of us.
Vic Falls Marathon Team