Victoria Falls Marathon a Global Scenic Race.

During my stay in Victoria Falls, I had seen some amazing people. My multi-lingual shuttle bus driver, the skilful chef with his acrobatic stir-fry had and now the fastjet official.

I had seen her pacing up and down the terminal for the past five hours. Now seated at the boarding gate for my fastjet flight to Nelspruit Kruger Mpumalanga she looked as calm and fresh as a new bank note.

How do you do it, I asked. “Do what” she replied with a hint of a smile, run your entire shift the length and breadth of this airport from domestic to international terminals. I watched you all morning and now it’s mid-afternoon handling and dispatching six fastjet flights.

“Well, you must know I wake up at 05:30 AM every morning and go for a 10-kilometre run. All this is in preparation for the Victoria Falls marathon on the 7th of July. My route takes me to some of the most beautiful locations in Victoria Falls. At dawn I pass through town, crossing the railway line on-route to Victoria Falls Bridge. On one side I have the Batoka Gorge and on the other misty views of Victoria Falls”.

A handling agent interrupted, passing her what I later learnt were flight documents with the load sheet. She continued “By the way, my name is Taboka Katuruza, from the bridge I run along the river’s shores down the famous Zambezi Drive where antelopes, kudus, elephants, and birdlife are in abundance. To keep my energy levels up, I always grab a bottle of water at the Big Tree, one of the region’s biggest and oldest baobab trees”.

Amazed, impressed, and envious of the sights that she sees each morning and her impressive fitness levels all I could say was, that answers all my questions. Preboarding commenced and again without breaking a sweat she paced to the airfield, documents in hand towards a fastjet Embraer ERJ145 aircraft.

She returned to the gate and exchanged a few words with the handling agents and the first ValuePlus passengers made their way to the aircraft. “Last year my time was not good, and I have been practising to beat it. My target this year is 3 hours and 15 minutes” she said. “From the first of July East African and Asian athletes will arrive for their on-track preparations. Our streets will be full of athletes from across the world from the third of July. You can imagine all of them come through the airport which means more running for me at work and for my morning run” Taboka said as I finalised my boarding processes.

“Enjoy your flight and I hope to see you for the Victoria Falls Marathon,” she said. I made my way to the aircraft, strapped in and we took off for Nelspruit Kruger Mpumalanga.

On board the flight I overheard a South African tour leader saying to some members of his group, “I will be returning on the 5th of July with a group of American tourists taking part in the Victoria Falls Marathon running to raise money for the rhino conservation across Africa”.

Relaxing on the flight, I made a promise to myself to take part in this scenic marathon in 2025.