'My husband is a pillar in my career' - Fortunate Chidzivo after taking third in SPAR Grand Prix
To understand the impact that the SPAR Grand Prix Series has had not only on road running but on the lives of the top runners that participate in the annual women's 10km race circuit, look no further than Fortunate Chidzivo. Residing in Durbanville Cape Town, the Zimbabwean half marathon national record holder (1:10:50) has cast traditional gender roles aside, using the money she earns from running to support her family while her husband takes care of the daily household chores.
"My husband is a pillar in my career to be honest," she told #TheTopRunner at the glitzy SPAR Grand Prix Awards in Irene yesterday where Ethiopia's Tadu Nare was crowned series champion and walked away with a cheque of R340 000. "He is also my strength trainer. He makes sure everything is going according to plan so I can succeed, so I can count him as part of my success," said the woman whose first of three daily training sessions is a 5am run with another at 11am and then gym in the evening. While the mother of two is training and resting, Hillary Chifamba is cooking and making sure that family is looked after.
The efforts of her doting husband allowed the Retail Langa Capital AC athlete to finish alongside South Africa's Glenrose Xaba in joint third in the 2021 SPAR Grand Prix Series final standings. Chidzivo’s success came as a result of her consistency as she took part in all six races, finishing fifth, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and 11th to earn R47 500 for the overall third place and almost R90 000 in total when prize money from the individual races is included.
"It went the way I didn't expect. I wasn't race fit this year. I had a tough Covid, losing my father and my grandmother so I didn't have a chance to train properly. And then with just two weeks of training we hit the road for the SPAR Series so to finish in joint third is amazing for me. And we thank SPAR for giving us a chance to go back on the road and make some money to support our careers. Our careers survived because of SPAR so we thank them very much," she shared.
And having only started her athletics career in 2013, the 34-year old believes the best is yet to come. Under the guidance of coach Chris Bruwer the woman who set a marathon personal best (2:35:19) believes she can get close to best 10km clocking of 32:26 during the 2022 series. "You can say that with the mouth, but the legs must say it. What I can say is that I'm working for next year now. I'm in a training camp. I'm looking forward to it. I'm not doing any marathon next year, so I'm only focused on the 10km series," she concluded.
Whether or not Chidzivo is fortunate enough to win next year's series remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: her husband will be by her side as will SPAR as they continue to go all out for the women of Africa.