Barclays Bank Zambia, in partnership with the Lusaka Fitness Squad and Zambia Amateur Athletics Association (ZAAA), has launched the inaugural Absa Marathon aimed at improving wellness and fitness among citizens.

The bank has pumped in K450, 000 for the marathon scheduled for November 30, 2019, in Lusaka.

A K100, 000 has been reserved the organisation of the event and awards for the winners.

Speaking during the launch, Barclays Bank Zambia managing director Mizinga Melu said the marathon, which would be an annual event going forward, is meant to support communities the bank operates in by encouraging fitness and wellness for all citizens.

“This partnership with LFS and ZAAA illustrates our commitment to supporting the communities we operate in by encouraging fitness and wellness for the majority of citizens, whilst providing a platform for aspiring professional athletes to compete and qualify for other acclaimed international marathons. As we progress on the transition journey, we have gradually introduced the Absa brand as seen from the renaming of the Barclays Cup to Absa Cup tournament in May this year,” said Melu.

Lusaka Fitness Squad chairman John Mbewe encouraged Zambians to register and participate in the marathon.

“The Bank has shown a high level of commitment to encouraging fitness, which transcends general wellbeing. We share the same goal of providing a sense of solidarity towards improving fitness levels and I would like to encourage as many people as possible to register and be part of the Absa Marathon which will flag off from the Lusaka Showground’s Main Arena,” said Mbewe.

And ZAAA president Elias Mpondela said his association has provided an opportunity for athletics to be recognised countrywide.

“It is gratifying that as an association, our role in providing a platform for athletics in the country has been recognized. We will continue to encourage activities that help the growth of this sporting discipline in the country and beyond,” said Mpondela.

Earlier this year, ABSA introduced the Wellness agenda as a way of encouraging fitness and wellness in workplaces, with employees participating in various activities such as running, walking, aerobics and football.

The Wellness agenda has been extended to include monthly activities with other companies in the public and private sectors, all aimed at driving the key message of wellness through sports.

ABSA, formerly Barclays Bank, has over the years sponsored numerous sporting activities such as the Barclays Cup, now ABSA Cup, the Musikili golf tournament held on August 31 this year, which ran for the third year, the 2019 Livingstone Sports Festival scheduled for this Saturday, September 14 and now the ABSA marathon planned for November.