Long-distance runner Isaac Mpofu set a new national marathon record on his way to finishing an impressive 10th at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday to cement his status as one of the country’s finest distance runners.
The 33-year-old Mpofu, who was making his second successive appearance at the prestigious competition, crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 56 seconds to shatter Cuthbert Nyasango’s eight-year national marathon record.
The previous national marathon record was 2 hours, 9 minutes and 52 seconds set by Olympian Nyasango at the 2014 edition of the Prague International Marathon in the Czech Republic.
Moyo finished behind winner Tamirat Tola, who won the race in 2 hours five minutes and 35 seconds and second-placed Mosinet Geremew (2:06:43), both of Ethiopia.
Bashir Abdi of Belgium finished third in (2:06:48).
Mpofu’s impressive performance was incredible considering the obstacles he had to overcome to compete at the World Athletics Championships in the US.
The Zimbabwean athlete’s participation in Eugene was uncertain until just last month when he was cleared to compete at the World Championships after successfully winning an appeal to have the time he clocked during the Durban International Marathon race in May reinstated.
Mpofu initially thought he had qualified for the global meet in Durban after running an impressive personal best of 2:10:24 to win the race before he was later disqualified because he did not have a second licence race number on the back vest.
Athletics South Africa (ASA) ruled that Mpofu failed to display a second licence number on his vest, after which they stripped him of both his time and R50 000 prize money.
After appealing the decision, Moyo’s time was considered eligible for him to compete in Eugene and he proved his class with an impressive performance on Sunday.
Zimbabwe’s other representative at the World Athletics Championships Tinotenda Matiyenga was scheduled to compete in the heats of the men’s 200m in the early hours of Monday morning.
Rising star Chengetayi Mapaya will compete in the qualification round of the triple jump in the early hours of Thursday morning.