An exciting marathon season building

2013-10-23 00:00

WILSON Chebet kept the marathon momentum going in Sunday’s Amsterdam Marathon by setting a new course record of 2:05,35, and pulling Birhanu Girma and Bernard Koech under the 2:07 barrier. It was Chebet’s fourth sub-2:06 race.

Valentine Kipketer won the women’s race in 2:23,02 and the continuation of fast times is raising the prospects of something special from the very high-class fields lined up for Sunday’s Frankfurt Marathon and the following week’s New York race.

With the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon clocking up over 2 000 entries in the first week of opening its 56 km race, and Comrades reaching over 11 000 entries already, runners are beginning to plan for these feature events in the 2014 season.

Qualification with a sub five-hour marathon was dealt a blow with the cancellation of the Soweto Marathon set for November 3, but locally, this week sees the launch of the Weekend Witness Maritzburg Marathon, which for the past few years has proved to be the country’s most popular Comrades qualifier. Entries for this race are due to open on November 4, but expect some exciting announcements later this week.

Two other races have been cancelled in the past week, the first being the Chiltren Nite Race, which was to be held on November 22. The club has not only been unable to get sponsorships, but has also had difficulty finding a suitable route that meets the safety requirements in accordance with the Safety in Sport Act.

For the second year, Durban Athletic Club (DAC) has announced the cancellation of its Calder Cup and Sulin Trophy 10 km events, citing a lack of sponsorship. This is the country’s oldest club and these races are popular as they are traditionally the last major events on the coast each year, and attract both locals and visitors. Last year, the race was taken over by another club and it is to be hoped that this will be the case for 2013, particularly now that the new promenade and Blue Lagoon areas have been completed and allow for an easier race route. At present, however, the final races of the year will be Westville’s Illovo 15 km challenge on December 8 for coast and Midlands runners, and the KwaZulu Weavers Holiday 21 km in the berg on December 15.

• The only race this weekend is the Duke of York 16 km, which has a new course, starting at the Ashburton horse training centre at 7 am on Sunday, and finishing at Bishopstowe Hall. This is no longer a fast downhill race, but includes 450 m of total ascent, so it has a completely different character from previous years.

There will also be a five-kilometre fun run, and buses will be available to take runners back to the start after prize giving. Gold, silver and bronze medals and certificates will be provided to finishers under three hours. More information is available from André at 082 318 5137.

RESULTS

The Swift Half Marathon Challenge

Men:

1. Philani Buthelezi, Klip River Striders 1:07,32

2. S. Ngubese, Phuma KZN 1:07,46

3. Joseph Kwenyo, Form One AC 1:07,50

35 to 39: Sandile Makhaye, Phuma KZN 1:11,58

40 to 49: Richard Dlamini, Phuma KZN 1:14,05

50 to 59: Willie Majambozi, Boxer AC 1:29,26

60 to 69: Robin Archer, QBH 1:45,39

Junior: Maradonna Ngcobo, Phuma KZN 1:14,40

Women:

1. Makhosi Mhlongo, Savages AC 1:23,13

2. Slindile Chili, Spar C/ville AC 1:23,50

3. Sarah Grey, Coll Harr 1:34,09

35 to 39: Nonsekelelo Mbambo, Natal Carbs 1:35,35

40 to 49: Sibongile Zugubu, Eskom AC 1:35,45

50 to 59: Debby de Koning, Eskom AC 1:48,39

60+: Sandy Fismer, Hilton Harr 1:50,34

Junior: Slindile Chili, Spar C/ville AC 1:23,50.

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