Nuggety Shezi wins Sani Stagger

2008-12-01 00:00

Phillip Shezi obliterated the opposition in the annual Sani Stagger, which he won in three hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds at the weekend.

The nuggety athlete, from the local Sani club, covered the demanding climb and descent from the Sani Pass hotel to the Lesotho border just under 25 minutes ahead of Mbongiseni Jiyane from Umhlathuze club, who added victory in the 35-39 age group to his second place.

The race awards were dominated by north coast runners, with Jiyane’s club colleague Sibiya Thokozani third, just under two kilometres adrift in 3:51:45, and Richards Bay’s Colin Geel taking honours in the 40-49 category.

Rand Athletic Club’s Steve Koller won the 60-plus age group, but failed to make the Comrades and Two Oceans qualification when he crossed the line in five hours, five minutes and 14 seconds.

Melenie van Rooyen added to the north coast prominence with victory in the women’s race in 4 hours, 10 minutes and 44 seconds, only 800 metres ahead of Lichtenberg’s Ereina du Toit, who was also first in the 35 to 39 category.

David Visser capitalised on his visit from the Western Province to win the half marathon stagger.

The Mr Price athlete took 80 minutes 35 seconds for the free-fall descent from the highest pass in Southern Africa to the golf course finish at the Sani Pass hotel, leaving Collegians Harriers’ Grant Gordon and the Vaal’s Warren Gee floundering in his wake.

Local lass Debbie Eaton was the first woman over the 21 km drop, while Westville’s Catherine Bode and previous Comrades winner Frances van Blerk of Pretoria diced it out for the remaining podium places.

Although the Nedbank athlete had to settle for third, her 1:52:10 performance was considerably faster than all other age groupers and gave her the consolation of the 50-59 award.

Results of the Sani Stagger 21,1km down run

Men: 1 David Visser Mr P WP 1:20:35, 2 Grant Gordon CH 1:39:27, 3 Warren Gee Vaal 1:49:14

Women: 1 Debbie Eaton CH 1:41:11, 2 Catherine Bode West 1:51:22, 3 Francis v Blerk NED 1:52:10

Sani Stagger 42,2 km marathon

Men: 1 Phillip Shezi Sani 3:16:40, 2 Mbongiseni Jiyane Umhaltuze 3:41:01, 3 Sibiya Thokozani Umhaltuze 3:51:45

Women: 1 Melenie v Rooyen CRBAC 4:10:44,

2 Ererina du Toit Lichtenberg 4:15:35, 3 Carienn Visser Pretoria 4:38:55

**********

Britain’s double amputee blade runner Richard Whitehead set a new world record in Sunday’s sixth BOM Beirut International Marathon.

The 32-year-old, who uses a swirling leg motion to propel himself along the course, carved three minutes from his own record to finish in three hours, 14 minutes and 20 seconds.

Ethiopian Alemayehu Shumye fulfilled his winning prediction by taking over four minutes from the previous course record to take the tape and a R90 000 incentive in 2:12,47.

Ethiopians dominated a tightly fought women’s race with Alemtsehay Hailu out-kicking Tadelech Birra to the line by eight seconds in 2:37:20.

The combination of 5 km, 10 km and marathon events brings close to 30 000 runners on to the once war-ridden streets of the Lebanese capital.

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