Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
NATIONAL Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) has commended organisers of the annual Victoria Falls Marathon for their decision to hold the race virtually this year, a move likely to attract more participants from around the globe.

Organisers first moved the premier event from July to December due to outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The marathon draws international participants and traditionally takes place in the first week of July, but it will now take place on December 13.

Tendai Tagara, Naaz president, said it was pleasing to note that organisers of the race have made contingency plans that will help athletes prepare for the competition.

Virtual marathons seem to have gained popularity during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Obviously we are excited as custodians of athletics that we will have the competition in December.

“Athletes can start preparing for the race and the good thing is that through virtual racing, you get to have more participants from accross the globe, which makes it fun.

“Already, we had the Old Mutual virtual marathon a couple of months back and this is now the trend worldwide. It’s also good to note that local marathon runners have embraced virtual racing,” said Tagara.

In a statement yesterday organisers of the Victoria Falls marathon said they would be bringing an exciting, but different event this year through the virtual marathon.

In a virtual marathon, athletes register and pay the requisite amount for their preferred distance then run on the set date at their own time alone and along their own chosen route.

The athletes record the finishing time and upload it on the race website and get certificates of participation which they can print out.

A virtual marathon can be held in any location one chooses and organisers of most events on the continent have gone virtual and thereby attracting larger audiences from all over the world.

This is good news for runners that have been itching for competition as they will no longer miss races since attendance is no longer determined by geographical location.

“Keep your training going and keep Sunday 13 December available as we are bringing to you an exciting virtual event. We will be ‘taking you to Vic Falls’ to run the marathon, half marathon, 10,5km relay or 7,5km fun run.

“We are working with one of the most sophisticated, interactive, virtual timing systems in the world, which offers ‘real-time’ accurate race results and tracking of your route. Whichever distance you choose, including the fun run,” read the statement from the Victoria Falls Marathon organisers.

The event will have an interactive ‘live’ tracking and distances will be timed with results provided. Prizes and giveaways are still being negotiated with the sponsors.

“You can challenge your friends, family and running clubs.” — @ZililoR