THE long wait is over!
The 11th edition of the usually eventful Commissioner General of the Police 21km road race, packaged with an exciting Police Band sub-plot, rolls into life at Dangamvura Shopping Complex in the eastern border city of Mutare tomorrow (Saturday).
Of note, this is the first time in its decade long history that the event is being hosted outside the country’s major cities of Harare and Bulawayo.
All along the Commissioner General of Police’s 21km road race was held in Harare for the past nine editions and the 10th edition was held in Bulawayo.
ZRP Superintendent in charge of sports, Abel Chimukoko said all is in place for the annual long distance running contest.
Chimukoko said more athletes are expected to register on the last day of registration today (Friday).
“Preparations for the Commissioner General of the Police have gone on well and are at an advanced stage. Registration will continue until Friday (today).
“Uptake is still low, but hopefully it will improve greatly especially on the last day of registration on Friday. For some reason, athletes prefer registering on the last day. There is no registration on the race day as it strictly for the competition and activities of the day,” he said.
Chimukoko, a decorated long distance runner during his hey days, applauded partners that chipped in during the preparations of the 2022 edition of the event.
“We really appreciate the assistance we have received from our partners especially the City of Mutare who have been helpful in clearing the roads to make them accessible even for those who will be using wheelchairs,” said Chimukoko.
Commendably, the Commissioner General of the Police 21km road race struck gender parity in prizes for participants.
“Our prizes are gender balanced. We are paying the top 10 for both men and women. We also have other categories from the juniors, the masters, grand masters the grand mistress,” said Chimukoko.
Apart from the athletics action, the annual event has usually given value to attendees with an exciting Police Band act.
“Of interest to others, we will have the Police Band performing. Some have seen the Police Band in action on television as well as hear it on radio, but on this day it will be performing free of charge in Mutare before, during and after the race as well as during a parade that will be held in Mutare a day before the event (today),” said Chimukoko.
As the race gets underway tomorrow, it remains to be seen whether Nedbank International middle and long distance runner, Misheck Sithole, who traces his career back to Mutare, will get it right this time around after settling for second position in the previous two editions of the 21km main event.
Last year, he came second after finishing behind Moses Tarakinyo in Bulawayo, the same position he attained in 2019.
Sithole said: “Since we have been inactive for a long time, it is any man’s game. Athletes are still in the process of picking up the pieces after the lengthy Covid-19 induced layoff in terms of competitiveness. Therefore, I am no exception. Last year, we had the Commissioner’s 21km race, but we all know that we did not have many competitions.
“I will try my best to achieve the best of what I can on Saturday given that I came second in the previous two editions of this event.”