Best of the Best – Lewis Masunda

Multiple award-winning marathon runner now living in South Africa and signed to the Nedbank Running Club.

Lewis Masunda
Lewis Masunda

Best times run

My marathon best is 62mins 15sec that I ran in Durban, South Africa in 2005. My best time in 10km is 28mins 36sec that I ran in Utretch, in The Netherlands in 2009.

Best Zimbabwean runner

The late Fungai Kapanyota was inspirational throughout his career, tragically cut short in 1999 when he and three other athletes (Stanford Chiyangwa, Cosmas Numwitike and Honest Dandara), and their coach (Ray Haworth) were involved in an accident on their way to a race in Swaziland.

Best sportsperson

Haile Gebrselassie. The Ethiopian remains the greatest figure in athletics and sports at large. Though some of his records are getting broken, it has taken long for that to happen.

Best competition ever seen

The 2000 Sydney Olympics Marathon between two world champions – Gebrselassie and Paul Targat of Kenya. A sprint finish had to determine the winner of the 10 000-metrer event. Gebrselassie won by a whisker.

Best advice ever received

My former coach Willion Ngazimbi, who is Ziscosteel Athletics coach, told me to refrain from drinking beer, smoking and womanising if I wanted to maintain a staying power in sport. I adhered to his advice and I am glad the results still keep coming.

Best sports apparel

Adidas.I got a sponsorship from the sportswear manufacturer in 2003. It was for the first time since I turned professional. Since then it has become a brand that I like most.

Best athletics memory

When the High Court ruled against my and Samukeliso Moyo’s suspension by an interim Athletics Zimbabwe committee put in place after the Sports Commission suspended AZ President Joseph Mungwari. The committee wanted us to remit the 10 percent of our winnings from an annual 10km race in Angola.

We found ourselves confused as to whether to remit the share to the interim or the suspended board, which was appealing its suspension. We eventually decided to hold on to our money. The interim committee felt we were being loyal to the suspended board and thought of suspending us from any athletics activity. It cost me nine months of action, but I was relieved when the suspension was lifted.

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