Last KwaZulu-Natal road race ends on perfect note

2012-12-19 00:00

PERFECT — that was the outcome for the last race of the KwaZulu-Natal road running year.

Perfect Dlamini took the honours in a slow 31 minutes and 59 seconds, but that was in hot and windy conditions that took the edge off the fast flat route out and back along NMR Avenue and King’s Park in Durban.

Dlamini opened over 200 metres of a lead on his nearest contender Sylvester Maindi of Bluff Meats, who crossed the line in 32:41 with Stella’s Khanyisa Nkinqa, a similar distance behind, in third.

The Stella club were prominent in the age group awards, with Nkosinathi Ngcongo taking the 35-39 and Edmund Mngadi leading in the 50-59.

However, it was the Boxer club that dominated the women’s race, with Jenna Challenor providing the best performance of the day with a 36:09 winning time.

Although considerably behind, Janene Carey and Danielle Adlam completed the podium, with Carey also first in the 40-49 age group.

Debbie Perry, dipping under the 40-minute barrier for the first time in recent months, added the 35-39 category to the club trophies.

The race was rescued by Verulam Athletics after the traditional hosts DAC cancelled their Calder Cup as a result of their past experience with road permissions.

The Boxer club also secured top honours in the KwaZulu Weavers 23 km run, from Bergville to Winterton, when Siyabonga Nkonde covered the undulating course in one hour, eight minutes and nine seconds.

The track and cross-country specialist was almost two minutes clear of Spimandla Nyembe from the Ladysmith-based Klip River Striders, with Bonginkosi Zwane completing the podium in a time of 70:15.

Suzette Botha looks set to make an impression on the running scene in early 2013. Botha completely dominated the race and her age 40-49 category taking only one hours, 12 minutes and 21 seconds to secure first.

She was fully 17 minutes clear of Mpumcelo Mnyandu, with Nonsike­lelo Mbambo third in 98:50.

Botha is unquestionably one of the best marathoners in KZN and is expected to be named in the squad for the SA Marathon Championships to be held at Oudtshoorn on February 3.

Eric Ngubane defended his title in Sunday’s gruelling Umhlanga Tourism Liberty Trail 18 km to secure his hat trick of wins.

The Mr Price athlete dominated proceedings from the first kilometre, leaving the field of over 500 runners in his wake and opening a substantial lead over closest rival, Thembelani Malunda, who was over two minutes adrift at the first water crossing at six kilometres.

“No one could stay with me. I felt strong leading the pack.

“Whenever I looked over my shoulder, I couldn’t see the guys, which gave me confidence to push the pace even more,” said a refreshed looking Ngubane at the finish.

“I really enjoyed the race, it was challenging as always … The lagoon crossing was trying, it slowed me down as the water was chest high, and so the easiest way for me to cross it was swimming,” he added.

The strong-running Rentia Dennyson was the best of the women, taking only one hour and 38 minutes for the 18 km course.

The record field ran a variety of terrain, including farm roads, weaving through fynbos and sugar cane, climbing steep hills, pounding along stony gravel roads and tackling single and double tracks through the Hawaan Dune Forest.

“The runners had two water crossings, of which both were flowing fairly fast,” said race director Buzz Bolton.

“The first was a shin-high river crossing at the six kilometre mark and the second was the lagoon crossing where it was chest high, about a kilometre from the finish.

“The Umhlanga lifesavers had a busy morning, guiding people through the water and making sure they were all safe.”

The first race of the 2013 season will be the traditional Ronnie Davel 16 km, which takes runners from Laddsworth School around the scenic and often mist enshrouded Mondi forests at Hilton.

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