By Duncan Mlanjira
Rab Processors, have partnered with organizers of the 2019 Blantyre City Marathon scheduled for October 13 in which the company shall provide 1,000 bottles of Vital Premium purified still water in 500ml bottles.
Rab Processors are also sponsors of the Southern Region Football League through their juice brand, ThumbsUp, as well providing training and match day with Vital Premium purified still water for the Malawi national football team.
“We are a company so concerned with society’s active health and through our ThumbsUp and Vital brands we have been supporting sports thus far by,” said Rab Processors’ Marketing Manager Anthony Kafuwa at a press briefing held at organizers’, Malawi National Council of Sports offices at Kamuzu Stadium.
“Through Vital brand, we have also supported the Mulanje Porters Race, Standard Bank Be More Race, the Nation Publication Mother’s Day Fun Run and the aerobics mania.
“All those donations have cost us over K10 million which we see as an investment towards the healthy well-being of our consumers.
“Now we look at the Blantyre Marathon as another sporting event worth of our support and it is in the same spirit that we decided to rehydrate the race with Vital Premium purified still water and are therefore contributing 1,000 bottles in 500ml.
“We chose to go with Vital water because we believe the product is a true partner to active lifestyle, which needs rehydration quite a lot.
“We would also like to commend Malawi National Council of Sports for this highly innovative sporting event and further courage them to carry on as it promotes active and health lifestyle to the society where sits customers and consumers of our products,” he said.
Organising committee chairperson, Martin Matululu applauded Rab Processors, saying the donation will ease some of their logistics since they have set up water points along the 42.195km route, starting with the first 10km and proceeding with every 5km.
He said rehydration is very vital for the athletes on this arduous challenge and thus they greatly appreciate this gesture from Rab Processors.
Matululu said all systems are in place set for the second edition of the marathon, whose theme is ‘Changing Lives’, and part of its proceeds shall be channeled to Kachere Rehabilitation Centre at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
“We decided to engage with Kachere Rehabilitation Centre because at certain times, our athletes do get injured and have needed the excellent physiotherapy services that this institution offers.
“This is in line with our theme of Changing Lives and we have also engaged them to participate in the event through a wheelchair race that we have added on top of the main race, the fun run, relay races and aerobics.”
He added that the guest of honour at the finish and the main event at Kamuzu Stadium will be Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture Francis Phiso to be joined by the city’s Mayor Wild Ndipo as well as dignitaries from the corporate world.
Just like last year, the champion in both categories will walk away with K1 million prize money and there is also an incentive of K500,000 for any athlete who shall break the course’s record of 2:18:40, set by veteran Henry Moyo in 2003.
The race had gone into hibernation before Malawi National Council of Sports decided to revive it and it was won by Moyale Barracks soldier Ndacha Nchelenje in men’s and Mulanje-based athlete Theresa Master in women’s.
Nchelenje finished in a time of 2:27:10, over by 9:30 minutes of 2:18:40 set by Henry Moyo in 2003 while the women’s champion Master finished at 3:19:49.
She overshot her personal best of 2:48:21 she set at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil by 31:28 minutes.
On second place in men’s category was another Moyale soldier-athlete Hosea Chaola in a time 2:27:28, just 18 seconds away while Zomba-based Mphatso Nandolo, in his maiden marathon, was third in 2:28:42.
Runner-up in the women’s category was Doris Fisher from Mulanje in 3:20:37 while Nancy Chirwa represented the North well by coming third in 3:22:35.
In July, Fisher — who has since relocated to South Africa — beat Master during the Mulanje Porters race and this rivalry will definitely manifest itself again during the Blantyre Marathon.
Matululu said they have maintained last year’s cut off time for men at 2:45hrs and 3:50hrs for women and in both categories and prizes were given to the first 10 positions as long as they were within the cut off time.
The race’s organising committee comprises Matululu as the chair, Chifundo Tenthani as the deputy, Unkha Ng’oma as marketing and communications, Thandi Bvalani for catering, Susan Mbejere for protocol, Thom Phodogoma for transportation with Isaac Phiri and Mzee Makawa as technical experts.
Last year’s edition attracted a total of 72 athletes, of which 59 were men and 13 women. So far 34 men and three women have already registered.
The route is also the same, starting at Ginnery Corner Roundabout in Blantyre near NBS Bank to Chichiri Roundabout where it branches off towards Kwacha Roundabout all the way to TVM, past St. Columbus CCAP Church and all the way to Kudya trading centre.
At Kudya, the route heads towards Zingwangwa and all the way to Stella Maris Secondary School where it turns towards Moneymen Club then past Catholic Institute (CI) and reaching Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre Central Business District.
Then it turns to what is popularly known as Kandodo Corner Shop where it branches off to Mbayani heading all the way to Kameza Roundabout before turning towards Machinjiri turn off where there is the Ernegem Filling Station.
The route then heads into Machinjiri, past Luanda Trading Centre; Area 5; Mkolokoti, Makhetha before joining the road from Zomba and going down past Lever Brothers; past Maselema Roundabout and reaching Chichiri Roundabout where it branches off Makata road and enter into Kamuzu Stadium for the finish line in front of the VIP Stand.