Lesotho athlete victorious despite leg cramp

2008-02-11 00:00

Lesotho’s Mabothile Lebopo overcame leg cramp to win Sunday’s Nedbank Durban City Marathon — which doubles as the SA Marathon championships — in a fast 2 hours 13 minutes and 52 seconds.

With a dozen athletes still in the pack, South African marathon novice, Cool Boy Ngamole, initiated a decisive break on the decent and climb out in Umbilo at 27 km. Lebopo took three kilometres to close the gap, but was reduced to a shuffle by cramps as they entered the final quarter.

This short recovery reinvigorated the diminutive athlete, who caught and kicked past Ngamole and Zimbabwean Moses Njodzi with less than six kilometres remaining.

Lebopo’s fellow countryman, Moses Mosuhli, made a late charge through the field but ran out of distance finishing 60 m behind the previous Soweto Marathon winner, who earned R100 000 for his efforts.

Ngamole, who is better known at the 10 km distance and was running his debut marathon, held on for third in 2:15.08, but as an individual did not qualify for the SA Championship title, which went to North West North’s David Gadebe in 2;15.30.

Namibia’s Beata Naigambo and Lesotho’s Moamorallo Tjoka went shoulder to shoulder over the final 10 km after Gauteng North’s Charne Bosman had broken the early pack of leaders after halfway. Tjoka seemed to have the edge as they hit the run along the beachfront, but Naigambo’s confidence grew as they approach Sun Coast and the 27 year old had opened almost a minute lead to cross the line in a personal best of 2:38.44.

Bosman was third for the SA Championship title in 2 hours, 42 minutes and 28 seconds.

KZN athletes won three gold, one silver and fiver bronze medals in the championships with Grace de Oliveira providing the province’s star performance finishing thirteenth overall and breaking the three hour mark by a mere 28 seconds.

This gave the 46 year old the Silver medal in the 40 -49 age category behind CGA’s Sarah Mahlangu and laid the foundation for the province to take gold in the 40 plus team competition with the assistance of 51 year old Judith Geldenhuis, who also earned Bronze in her 50-59 category.

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