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Munyaradzi Jari – A Huge Talent

by on August 6, 2012

Munya was born in Acturas Mine, Zimbabwe just over 22 years ago. He attended Acturas primary school in Grades 1 and 2 – then moved to Rasape in Zimbabwe we he grew up. Munya has only been running since he was 14 years old, so really only been at it for 7 years. He says he started running because he ran a cross country race at school and just liked it – and so thought he would carry on. At the age of 17 he was selected to represent Zimbabwe at a Cross Country meting in Malawi, where he placed in a credible 15th overall. It was here that he realised that if he put in a bit of effort into his running he just may be fortunate enough to achieve something great.

2009 he decided that he would try and race in South Africa to make some money and see how he faired against other top SA athletes.  He made the trip and based himself in Durban. This is where he came accross Formula 1 Athletic Club, a club that had athletes like multi-Comrades marathon winner Stephen Muzhingi, Collen Makaza and Shandza Badza on its books. He was afforded the opportunity to have accommodation, meals and training facilities and programmes supplied by the club. This was a good deal for the young man from the Zimbabwe. Munya then began training with the other guys and it wasn’t long after this that his talent began to shine, as he was keeping up with the other athletes over the shorter distances in training, but was actually beating the top guys at the track sessions. This man has plenty of speed!!!!!!.

In 2010 he was asked if he wanted to run Two Oceans Ultra in order to gain experience, as he would be able to mix it with the front runners for at least the first 30km, so this would mean he could do the pace setting duties for the likes of Collen Makaza and Stephen Muzhingi. To which he accepted and did his job very well. Stephen finished in 4th position and Collen in 11th, Munya finished his first Oceans Ultra in 3H40. Not bad for a 20yr old. To date Munya only ran 4 official Marathon races and has a PB (personal best) of 2H24 with an unofficial time of 2H17. Still in 2010 Munya had his first taste of the Comrades Marathon where he again did pace setting duties for Stephen Muzhingi, who went on to win his second title in a row. Munya continued to train and focus on the shorter distance races, winning many races over 10km and 21km distances around Kwazulu Natal. Late in 2009 he met up with Craig Fry (athlete manager) in order to manage his career path. They are still a team.

At this time Munya had a PB Half Marathon of 66:15, and 10KM PB of 31:03. During 2011 Munya was asked to run the incredible tough Township to Township Ultra marathon in Kwazulu Natal. He went through marathon mark in a very fast 2H17, and at the 44km mark was finished. His coach at the time pulled him out the race and advised him that with that time on the course that he would run Soweto marathon the next weekend. The young man knew he would not be able to do this as this would be back to back weekend marathons. But who was he to argue, and went to Soweto and raced this, but naturally did not fare well and finished in 14th position. He was distraught after the race, as he knew that without running the race the weekend before that he would have had a great opportunity of winning Soweto Marathon.

Craig Fry then decided that he could not manage Munya if he was to stay with his current coach and club, to which he agreed and parted ways with them. Munya now resides with Craig and his family and all aspects of his career are now back on track. Craig and Munya decided that he would not run Ultra races for the time being and would focus on the Marathon and half marathon distances in order that he realise his talent. December 2011, he went to Angola and ran the 10km race against the likes of the great Haille Gebreselassie, Tedese and other top athletes from Africa. His speed was there and went through the 5km mark sub 14. But fell off and finished in +-29:30 minutes.

Craig arranged a Full Elite invitation for Munya to the Hong Kong Marathon 2012, which they both knew he would not be 100% prepared or ready to win this race, but would use this race as a gauge to see what he needs to do to get to the top in world running. He ran as if his life depended on it, and was with the lead bunch at the 30km mark, and it was at this point that there was a mix up at the refreshment station,  he and 3 athletes went down. He got up and felt pain in his knee, but ran this off as best he could and completed the race, around 2H30 – he took a lot of knowledge and gained valuable experience from this race.

Upon arriving back in SA, he and Craig took stock and devised a 3 year plan from all aspects, especially the training. Since training under Craig his results in 2012 have improved dramatically. He ran Maritzburg half Marathon in a time of 67, and two weeks later ran the tough Paulpietersburg half in 63:40, which is a PB time for him. He went on to run Two Oceans Half marathon and did not have a great race but finished in 11th position.

Gabarone Marathon finished in 2H32, but again was in the mix but ran out of legs in the last 4km. This all in part of learning how to race and with each race he runs he gains valuable experience. Munya has no problem knowing how to win a 21km race or a 10km race but it is at the Marathon distance that he is only now learning how to win these and it is just a matter of time now until he wins his first marathon.

A more determined and focused individual you will not get. His track times in training are fantastic, a session of 25 x 200m in average of 28 seconds, 20 x 400m sub 60 seconds and 8 x 800m session average 2:13, 10 x 1000m session at an average of 2:40. Once he has learned how to combine his speed with his endurance he will be a force that will be unstoppable.

Big things await Munya and I feel that this will be sooner rather than later. He is supported by Nike, 32GI and Compress Sport SA, and  there is no doubt that you will see the name Munyaradzi Jari on the top of the results list at the marathon distance soon

Munya at the Paulpietersburg Half 2012. Being supported by Craig (Left) and John Birgen ( Right, Former 2009 Milan Marathon Champion 2H09)

Running at the front of the field where he should be!

Munya with his SA Mother Donnette and Aiden (My wife and Son)

Follow Munya on Twitter @munya95 or http://www.squidoo.com/munya

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2 Comments
  1. plustenner permalink

    I truly believe we are going to be hearing a lot more from this fantastic runner 🙂

    • Ahh I hope so. We have worked really hard over the last 7 months with Munya, and he has improved in leaps and bounds. So next weekend is the big one for him. He has run a good few marathons but has never really focused on training specific for it as he has focused on 21.1km. So we have focused the last 4 months for this race. So will let you know how it goes. Sunday 26th August. Mandela Marathon KZN.

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