Leader out in race mishap

2013-08-26 00:00

ZIMBABWEAN Munyaradzi Jari was leading the Mandela Day Marathon yesterday, when he was hit by the lead car and forced to quit the race after eight kilometres.

Jari was gunning for last year’s record set by compatriot Brighton Chipere when the accident occurred outside Imbali. “I was in the lead at five kilometres, and the lead vehicle, I don’t know what it was doing behind me, came to a turn and hit me,” Jari told The Witness.

Initially he did not feel any pain, but that changed soon after he finished going up a hill at eight kilometres.

Jari said he was advised by doctors not to run for two weeks.

Doctors would look at his injury again in two weeks and then advise.

Jari said he would miss next week’s Gauteng Marathon, which he would have used to prepare for Kuala Lumpur later in September.

“I have to be in Malaysia because flights and accommodation have been booked.

“This is my job. Now I am under pressure to find another race. He killed my win because I was going to win this race.”

The 23-year-old Zimbabwean currently holds the record for the Maritzburg Marathon, and was beaten by Chipere by a mere two minutes at last year’s inaugural Mandela Day Marathon.

“I was going for the record … I’ll come back next year for both the Mandela Day Marathon and Maritzburg, and I want to break the record in both.”

His manager Craig Fry said based on Jari’s training stats, he was set to run a time of around 02:22.

“He had every chance of winning this race. He was a lot quicker and a lot stronger than he was last year,” said Fry.

Last year, Jari’s strategy was to go out in front early on and race until the end.

“We wanted to run the same strategy this year,” he said.

Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso confirmed the incident, and said it was caused by confusion between the lead car and the athlete.

“The confusion led to the athlete being bumped. He continued for a while, but felt cramps and believed it was caused by the incident,” said Mabaso.

He added that the driver of the car was accredited by KZN Athletics and the IAAF.

“It is just an unfortunate accident that happens at an event of this size.

“Without this minor incident, we would have declared the Mandela Day Marathon an incident-free race,” he said, adding that it should not define the race.

He added that the incident would force them to learn for the future.

Race director Les Moeti said: “At the moment I do not know what happened. I am waiting for a report back from the driver.”

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