By Garikai Mafirakureva

THREE Gonarezhou Conservation Partnership employees will this weekend participate in one of the world’s charity marathons run over a distance of 42km to fundraise for animal conservation.

The event was introduced in 1981 and is now known as the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Gonarezhou Conservation Partnership is a partnership between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FSZ).

Promise Kanuka, who is from Malipati, Victor Gutu, from Chomupani, both employed as game rangers, and Michael Hlengani, from Chambuta, employed as motor mechanic, on Wednesday left for London as the park continues to engage the community and uplift the lives of villagers around it.

- Advertisement -

According to Gonarezhou Conservation Partnership director Hugo van der Westhuizen, despite the trip being for fundraising, it is also meant to boost employee morale and strengthen their relationship with communities around the park.

Westhuizen said the park was constantly engaging with the Tshangani community, which is now providing a large chunk of the manpower and various other services.

“This is meant to fundraise for many projects around this park, but on the other hand, it is meant to motivate our employees,” he said.

“Last year, Thomas Mbiza and I participated in the marathon, in which we were fundraising for rhinos and we all managed to complete it. This year, our team has grown bigger and we hope next year it will be even bigger.”

The race was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist, Chris Brasher and athlete, John Disley.