Late notice makes Challenor only KZN rep at SA Half Marathon Champs

2013-09-26 00:00

DURBAN’S Jenna Challenor was the only KZN representative at the SA Half Marathon Championships, after the KZN Road Commission and Executive decided not to send a team to the East London event due to Athletics SA’s late notification of the championships.

Challenor, who was financially assisted by the province on an individual basis, made her place count, earning the bronze medal in a time of 1:16,30. She finished behind René Kalmer and SA marathon champion Cornelia Joubert, who finished in 1:15,18, with less than 100 metres separating the leading pair.

Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora was third over the line, but as a foreigner did not qualify for the bronze medal, which went to Challenor, who set a new personal best.

Stephen Mokoka, like Kalmer, earned his third successive SA 21 km title in 1:02,45, with Lusapho April the local runner-up in 63:07, and Elroy Gelant closing the podium with 63:34.

Gladwin Mzazi was the only other South African to break 65 minutes in the event. It saw a considerably depleted field because of the lack of notice for the organisation of the event, which resulted in some provinces, including KZNA, failing to send teams.

Although the province did assist Challenor to the championships, she is recorded as independent, so unfortunately there is no provincial recognition for her achievement. It is not clear as to how this will affect selection procedure for the World Half Marathon championships in Denmark in March 2014.

Although Challenor’s personal best is to be applauded, how would Tanith Maxwell, the province’s leading 21 km athlete, have faired had the province made the support open to all leading athletes?

Another local athlete affected by the late notice was Cary-Ann Smith, who had committed to the Cape Town Marathon held the following day. Smith ran a personal best time of 2:49,22 seconds, to place third over the fast flat course, but has also previously represented South Africa over the 21,km distance.

• Zimbabwean Samulkeliso Moyo won the Cape Marathon in 2:42,47, with Kim Laxton second in 2:43,23. Local athlete Lindikhaya Mthangayi took the men’s race in 2:17,03, having burnt off Kenyan Paul Manwa late in the race by 160 metres. Pumlani Nxusani was third and the only other runner under 2:20.

• The drop in overnight temperatures thwarted the record attempts by Johan van der Merwe and Hazel Moller in the Capital Classic 100 miler, which was held last Friday and Saturday on the roads around the Natal Carbineers’ drill hall.

Victory was never in doubt for the Polokwane man, who was well on target early in the race, but dropped behind his schedule to improve on the SA 24-hour record held by Wally Hayward as the sun was about to rise.

He continued past the 100-mile mark (160,9 km) only as far as required to achieve the 175 km mark, which was identified as a special award in celebration of Pietermaritzburg’s 175th anniversary as a city. This saw Van der Merwe finish his running after 18:57,53. It is only a matter of time before he adds the 24-hour record to the South African 48-hour record he set in Hungary earlier this year.

Bedfordview’s Moller (40) also stopped at the same mark, taking 21:29,59 for the distance, to finish second overall. She decided not to continue to challenge Yvonne Sumner’s 30-year record of 188 km in 24 hours.

In all, 10 runners made the 100-mile mark in the allotted 24-hour period, with Cliff Hagerman agonisingly close, but finishing under one lap short of the required distance. This inaugural event is recognised internationally as a bronze-label event and is sure to attract many more competitors in the future.

• The primary race this weekend is the Queensburgh Mineshaft 15 km, which will start at Escombe Sports Club in Bowker Road at 6 am. The race is open to runners and walkers, with the first prize in both categories R1 000. Second and third earn R500 and R300 respectively, and the first 600 runners and walkers will get T-shirts, while the next 200 earn drawstring shoe bags.

In an innovative award system, the club with the greatest number of participants will receive goody bags worth R500 for each of their runners and this is sure to see a large field on the day. Dean has more details at 083 630 2423.

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