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Zimbabwe to Boston and Points in Between

Dr. Munashe ChigerweThe Boston Marathon is widely recognized as the premiere running event in the US and abroad. For 26.2 miles, approximately 20,000 runners push themselves to their limits while being cheered on by over a half million spectators. Among this year's finishers was Dr. Munashe Chigerwe.

Like many of the marathon runners, he traveled a great distance to Hopkinton , Massachusetts to be among the thousands to partake in the annual Patriot's Day celebrations and marathon kick-off. Originally from Zimbabwe , a slight detour brought Dr. Chigerwe to the College of Veterinary Medicine where he has been a food animal resident since 2003.

Many train for years to build their endurance and strength to even qualify for the marathon. Growing up on a farm and miles away from school, Dr. Chigerwe's training began at an early age. He fondly recalls running to school with his five siblings after morning chores to beat the bell.

Like many young boys in Zimbabwe , soccer was the main attraction with Dr. Chigerwe. While several of his siblings trained to be both short and long distance runners, he stuck with soccer through high school. Due to the lack of organized soccer here in the US , he decided to run in the time that he had.

Dr. ChigerweStarting modestly with locally organized 5k runs, Munashe soon came to the conclusion that these “short runs” were not much of a challenge. A trip to Des Moines , Iowa in 2005 provided the first opportunity for him to test his long distance running. His summation of the marathon was, “hard.”

Undaunted, Dr. Chigerwe continued to train and participate in marathons when time permitted. On his fourth marathon, he qualified for the 2007 Boston Marathon. The 2007 race was characterized by bad weather including thirty-six mile per hour winds, rain and temperatures below 40 degrees.

The marathon itself as Dr. Chigerwe described was not only a physical, but mental roller coaster. Starting from corrals containing a thousand other runners, they began the first part of the race on relatively level terrain for the first twenty miles as they spaced out and found a comfortable pace. The remainder of the race is known for its increasingly challenging terrain of long rolling hills, including “Heartbreak Hill,” which depleted most of his energy reserves by the time he descended into Boston on adrenaline alone.

With one Boston Marathon under his belt, he has set his sights on another challenge. In a bid to qualify for the Marathon once again, he intends to run at least one marathon in every state before returning home to Zimbabwe . His current count is at eight with only forty-two more to go.

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Last Update: February 24, 2012