Marathon weekend an ideal opportunity for qualifying issues

2008-09-18 00:00

It is marathon weekend in Cape Town and Durban, presenting prospective Two Oceans and Comrades runners an ideal opportunity to put the 2009 qualifying issue to bed.

Down south over 2 500 runners will line up for Sunday’s Nedbank Cape Town Marathon, which commences at 6.30 am from the city centre and covers a relatively flat fast course around the city, beachfront and suburbs to finish in front of the City Hall.

The race is on the IAAF listing as a qualifier for major international championships, and a number of continents’ top athletes have entered to make the required standard for the World Championships in Berlin in August.

Zimbabwean Saukeliso Mayo will return to defend her 2007 title, but it will be interesting to see if she can repeat her 2:40 winning time, having won the tough City to City event only two weeks ago. Ethiopian Asrat Addis is sure to punish any misjudment of pace Mayo makes.

South Africa’s Coolboy Ngamule, who had such an impressive run in this year’s SA Championships in Durban, faces strong challenges from Zimbabwean Gilbert Mutandiero and Kenyan Kipkosgei Ngeny in the men’s race.

In addition to the marathon, the Nedbank race offers a fast 10 km route. With Jeffrey Gwebu, Enos Matalane, and track stars Tshamano Setone and Boy Soke already confirmed entries, this is going to be a tightly fought race with times expected to be under the 30-minute barrier.

The race will be broadcast live on SABC2.

Locally the key event is Sunday’s Ethekwini Family Four-in-One from King’s Park Athletics Stadium, which combines the 5 km, 10 km, half-marathon and marathon distances in one event.

Although slated as a 6 am start, the two-lap marathon and single-lap half marathon have been delayed by 15 minutes to avoid a clash with the annual Nando’s cycle race.

The course takes the normal NMR circuit to Jeff Taylor and Somtseu roads, cuts past the swimming pool and runs down to Blue Lagoon, where runners will cross over the Umgeni into Durban North. A change for 2008 sees runners tackling the even steeper climb up Margaret Matron Drive to Kensington and into Chelsea, which will take them onto Old Mill Way and so past the Glenwood clubhouse to Riverside Road, across the river and back to the stadium via Athlone Drive and NMR.

Entries will be taken for all races today and tomorrow and the KZN Offices have more details at 031 312 9374.

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