Final preparation for Comrades

2013-05-08 00:00

LUSAPHO April set a new course record and personal best in winning the weekend Hannover Marathon in Germany in two hours, eight minutes and 32 seconds.

April’s performance is the fastest since Hendrick Ramaala’s 2:07,57 in London, and should confirm his place in the team to the World Championships in Moscow.

His 64,49 for the first 21 km was backed up by a 63,43 for an impressive negative split that left the competition floundering.

In Germany, Tanith Maxwell finished sixth in the Big Berlin 25 km, a race through the capital, which dates back to the separated city. The Kloof-based runner took 1:32,18 for the tour of sights that finished in the Olympic Stadium.

Lucy Kabuu led a Kenyan clean sweep of the podium, with 1:21,35.

Kenyan Richard Sigei had a clear lead in the men’s race taking line honours in 1:13,32, with Ugandan Daniel Chepyegon the runner-up in 1:14,14, just one second outside his personal best set in 2010. Jacob Kendagor was third, 31 seconds further adrift.

In Tokyo, South Africa’s top long-jumper this season, Zack Visser, was second to Brasilian Mauro da Silva, who faced a headwind in his leap of 7,99 metres. Visser, who has already qualified for the Moscow championships, finished with a best of 7,84 metres.

In Port Elizabeth, Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora won her second Spar Ladies’ 10 km of the season in 33,9, with Diana-Lebo Phalula second and Mapaseka Makhanya third.

Although Jenna Challenor was the best of the KZN runners, taking 35,21 for ninth spot, a number of local runners impressed in the age groups.

Debbie Perry led the 35 to 39 category in 40,12, while Janene Carey and Grace de Oliveira took honours in the 40 to 44 and 50 to 54 groupings in 38,28 and 41,22, respectively. A total of 13 419 women took part in the event, which is part of the biggest series in the country.

The next leg will be held in Durban in June.

On the home front, Kenyan Julius Tenai won the final KZN Comrades qualifier held in Verulam on Sunday, taking 2:30,6 for the hilly two-lapper event.

Tenai was well over a kilometre ahead of Sipho Ngxongo, with Richard Nene finishing a similar distance adrift in third.

Carbineers Nonsikelelo Mbambo led the women home in 3:20,57, with Nicola McMurray the runner up in 3:28,24 and Yolandi Visser third in 3:40,45.

The third of the cross-country leagues will be held at Hutchinson Park on Saturday, with the programme commencing at noon. This was the venue for the successful SA Cross-country Championships last year and is sure to prove popular. There have been increased turnouts to each of the leagues held this year, and this is seen as an ideal strength-and-speed session as a test of Comrades fitness.

On Sunday, Richards Bay is host for the RBM 32 km at 6 am. Inquiries: 082 785 6530

In Durban, Woodview hosts the Starling Plumbers half-marathon and 10 km race, starting at 6 am from the recreational grounds at Mount Edgecombe

As the Comrades countdown begins, and runners drop into taper mode, there will be final preparation talks held in Pietermaritzburg and Ladysmith next week.

Collegians Harriers in Boshoff Street is the host in the City of Choice on May 14 at 6.30 pm, while the Ladysmith Athletics Club in Klip River road is host on Wednesday at 6 pm. Contact John Hall at 082 49 7679 and Johan van Dyk at 082 652 3596 for more details.

A large KZN senior and masters team has been selected for the SA 10 km Championships to be held around the Kings Park sports zone on May 19.

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