Chikondi Mwanyali breaks Kenyans’ dominance in Standard Bank Be More Race

* 20-year-old Mwanyali, a rising star after he also won the Mzuzu City Hall Marathon in March, finished in 1:5:45hrs

* With Mphatso Nadolo on second position in 1:05:52 while Chancy Master was third in 1:06:06

* Reserve Bank of Malawi has since praised for putting the Be More Race on global radar

By Victor Singano

Malawian athlete Chikondi Mwanyali won the 3rd edition of the Standard Bank Be More Race thereby breaking the Kenyan domination of the event and was joined by fellow compatriots in the top three positions of the 21km men’s half marathon.


The 20-year-old Mwanyali, a rising star after he also won the Mzuzu City Hall Marathon in March, finished in 1:5:45hrs with Mphatso Nadolo on second position in 1:05:52 while Chancy Master was third in 1:06:06.

Mwanyali attributed his win to hard work and passion, saying he is happy to have ended the Kenyans’ dominance in the half marathon, describing it as a great day for him and Malawi athletes.

“We have done it and I have done it,” he said. “Competition was tough — For one to succeed in marathon you need to be disciplined, work hard and also have a good diet. The achievement today will help inspire me to achieve more,” said Mwanyali,mwho belongs to Civo Racing Club.

However, the ladies category was won by Kenyan Monica Ghihruto, who clocked 1:16:18 followed by her compatriot Naomi Jepkrir (1:17:39) while the third position was attained by Malawian Nalicy Chirwa (1:20:30) followed by Mulanje-based Tereza Master on 4th (1:23:45) and Chloe Powell in 5th (1:24:37.

Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has since praised for putting the Be More Race on global radar, as said by guest of honour William Matambo, deputy governor, who congratulated Standard Bank for a successful event.

“As a financial regulator, we are very excited that one of our financial institutions is going all the way to sponsor a big race like this,” Matambo said. “To Standard Bank, like Chinua Achebe wrote in ‘Things Fall Apart’, you have brought us together to do exercises not that individually we don’t exercise but because it is good to do so.

“The Be More Race has become one of the most anticipated and looked to marathon every year,” he said.

Standard Bank Chief Executive, Philip Madinga described the attendance as a record,” while taking recognition the impressive field of 1,700 that included athletes from Botswana and Kenyan.


“This is a record registration since it’s inception,” he said. “We had athletes from Japan, Botswana, Kenya and hosts Malawi participating. We are growing with each edition and this marathon has become  an international event.”

Madinga also said the registration fees for the tournament will go towards purchasing teaching materials towards schools in Mulanje and that Standard Bank also used the Be More Race platform to donate K1 million to women footballer Tabitha Chawinga as an acknowledgement for her achievement in the Serie A league where she won the Golden Boot Award.

And in solidarity with the efforts by Zomba Athletics Academy deputy matron, Eneless Makumba to raise funds for construction of a house for Paralympic athlete, Mphatso Saukile — which was destroyed due to Cyclone Freddy-induced floods in March — Standard Bank has also contributed K1 million towards the cause.

This was in recognition of Eneless’ innovation by participating in the Standard Bank Be More Race race as her charity initiative, which is targeting to raise K4.5 million to build Mphatso a new house as well as two other affected athletes for Zomba Athletics Academy.

Eneless, who is also wife to the club’s founder and coach, Benedicto Makumba, also intends to participate in the Blantyre 42.195km marathon for the same cause and her support staff at the Be More Race, coach Memory Chauluka and manager Godfrey Mwantisi, are looking forward to shaping her even better ahead of the Blantyre 42.195km Race scheduled for July 30.

Mphatso Saukile’s family’s home collapsed and despite the disaster that befell his family, the paralympic athlete — who participated at the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games in December 22 in 400m and 800m Regional 5 Games in Lilongwe where he won two gold medal in 800m and 400m — also represented the country in Italy Jesolo Grand Prix in Venice from May 12-15 — where he was second in 1500m and 5th in 400m in Open-aged competition.

Saukile with his matron beside the destroyed home

In the same breath, Standard Bank has honoured veteran journalist Duncan Mlanjira for his social impact story on plight of Mphatso Saukile when he reported of Eneless’ initiative to use the Be More Race as a charity.

At the presentation ceremony, Standard Bank disclosed that they learnt of the plight of Mphatso Saukile after a report by Mlanjira that was published on Maravi Express.

The report was published on June 13, just four days before the Standard Bank Be More Race that highlighted that Eneless, who is Zomba Athletics Academy deputy matron, was to race in Lilongwe as well as the Blantyre 42.195km Race to fundraise for Mphatso Saukile.

Thus, after the race, as solidarity to the efforts by Eneless, Standard Bank has contributed K1 million towards the cause and in the same breath awarded Mlanjira with a medal and K250,000 in recognition of what was described as social impact story.

Madinga said Mlanjira’s story  was “so heart-rending and so emotionally provoking”, thus the Bank took special consideration to award the veteran journalist because of his “interest in developing athletics through Be More Race”.

In his remarks, Mlanjira said he was really taken aback of the recognition, saying he was really humbled to have played a part towards Eneless’ “noble initiative, which is very rare and deserved the support it deserved”.

“I was simply doing my job — to highlight the status of Be More Race as usual, and Eneless’ initiative attracted my whole attention to it,” he said. “It was her husband who brought it to my attention.

“I came to know him when he read an article I did regarding the milestones of Mulanje Athletics Club, managed by extreme sports athlete Edson Kumwamba, and Benedicto told me of his Zomba Athletics Academy.

“I was impressed and went ahead to highlight the achievements of the Academy and from then on we struck a very strong bond in the mutual interest of helping athletes get recognition they deserve.”

Veteran journalist Mlanjira

Mlanjira further said he knew of Paralympic Mphatso’s achievements, that included his participation at the AUSC Region 2 but was not aware he is a product of the Zomba Academy until Makumba himself brought it out when he was engaged to support his wife’s initiative.

“So, to me the initiative to construct the houses for Mphatso and the other two affected athletes was something that spurred me to assist to publicize it, not knowing that Standard Bank would respond this way.

“They just called me on Thursday asking for details and images of Eneless and Mphatso, which I supplied and I was really bamboozled when I was told by Standard Bank that she has been awarded the K1 million and the award for myself.

“I am humbled and will be even prouder when Eneless and Benedicto will finally hand over the constructed house to Mphatso because he deserves it,” Mlanjira said while appealing to more assistance to wellwishers to contribute towards the initiative so that the Paralympic should be accorded a stately home.

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