Makhaye, Musa lead PMB half marathon

2008-02-26 00:00

A cool breeze and some light rain greeted the 400-plus runners who took on the annual Alex Wasps half marathon and 15-km walk in Pietermaritzburg at the weekend.

Sandile Makhaye and Bongani Musa from the Mr Price club led the men’s field around the capital’s suburbs on Sunday morning, with Musa taking line honours in 71 minutes 19 seconds having opened a 250-metre gap on his club-mate.

The Mr Price club also secured the team prize. Sibongile Ziqbu was never challenged in the ladies’ race, finishing over a kilometre clear of Boxer’s Maria Mthembu, with the pair also taking 1-2 in the 35 to 39 age group.

Third place went to local athlete Christine Harris from Hilton Harriers in 98:10, which also won her the first 40 to 49 prize.

• Prodigal Khumalo won the aptly named Golden Sun 32-km held between Tongaat and the Durban beachfront on Sunday.

The race was held in hot and humid conditions but attracted over 1 200 runners and walkers. Khumalo and Boxer’s Bernard Phalatsane and Godfrey Koki were the main contenders.

Khumalo pulled clear to cross the line in 1:53:21 with 600 metres lead over Koki, who has recently moved up into the 40 to 49 age group.

Independent runner Helen Buley won the women’s race ahead of the more established Iris Ndlovu from Boxer and Hillcrest’s Julie Shadwell.

The 16-km out and back saw the most competitive finish, with Formula One’s Samuel Pazanga out kicking Boxer’s Elmore Sibanda on the final run in to take the tape in 51 minutes 30 seconds, about 100 metres clear of the Zimbabwean.

Janene Carey won the women’s short distance race.

•With the track and field season beginning to peak towards next months’ SA Championships and Beijing Olympic Trials, more athletes have secured the vital Olympic qualifying marks.

Friday night’s fourth leg of the Yellow Pages Ultimate Athletics in Germiston added five more names to the list of eight qualifiers, with three coming from the 400 metres hurdles.

Ter de Villiers pulled Alwyn Myburgh and Ockert Cilliers when he clocked 48.71 seconds to beat the 49.20 second A standard. Although Cilliers’s third paced 49.18 also dipped under the mark, South Africa’s top hurdler of recent international events, L.J. van Zyl, failed to show his usual final fire to finish fourth in 50.43 seconds.

KZN’s World Student gold medallist, Pieter Koekemoer, who last year made the grade, finished a disappointing eighth in 54.85 seconds.

The hurdles are currently South Africa’s strongest event and this is a race that will run all season, as Olympic rules allow only three hurdlers to enter from each country, making a top three in the Stellenbosch SA Championships a vital race for these contenders.

Athens Olympic silver medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi made a successful debut in the Yellow Pages series with a qualifying 1:45,25 win in the 800 metres, taking the exciting youngster Samson Ngoepe (1:45.49) under the mark with him.

Sprinters Geraldine Pillay and Isabel le Roux recorded B qualifying standards in the 100 and 200 metres events respectively.

Fast Feet’s sprinter Sergio Mullins provided the best performance of KZN athletes, taking second behind Hannes Dreyer (20.87) in the 200 metres in 21.07 seconds, but was demoted to fourth in the 100 metres (10.66) when Dreyer completed the double in 10.39.

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