Running: SA Cross country has good outing in Maluti mountains

2013-03-06 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s cross country team had a most successful outing at the Southern Region Cross country championships in Maseru at the weekend.

Elroy Gelant took the senior men’s gold with David Manja earning bronze behind Lesotho’s Matlokoa Nkhabutlane. Support from Gladwin Mzazi and Desmond Mokgobu in fourth and fifth ensured South Africa ran away with the team gold ahead of Lesotho, Malawi and seven other countries. KZN-based Lungisa Mdedelwa finished ninth, the fifth South African.

Malawi’s Grevazio Mpani was dominant in the Junior Men eight kilometre race, winning gold with almost 200 metres in hand. Rantso Mokopane took silver and set the foundation for the South African team gold.

KZN’s Adam Lipschitz had a disappointing outing finishing 12th overall, about 500 m off the pace. Namibia’s Lavinia Hantope produced the winning performance in the women’s eight kilometre race a couple of strides ahead of Zimbabwean Olivia Chitate and 100 m clear of Nolene Conrad. She took bronze and led the SA quartet home for the gold medal in the team competition.

Despite Thandeka Manzana being the first South African home in sixth place in the junior women, the team was able to pick up the silver medal in the six kilometre race. Botswana’s Mosa Badubi won. Zimbabwean Bertha Chitiyo and Lesotho Keneunoe Foloko filled silver and bronze positions.

Back in Port Elizabeth, Lusapho April set a world leading time for 2013 of 44:30 seconds in the Cassie 15 km at the weekend.

The race produced three other South African leading times for 2013, but April’s performance, together with Elroy Gelant’s recent 3 000 m time of 7:47.50, run at altitude, gives athletics fans some hope for top class competition in the coming middle and long distance season.

Gelant’s time was the fastest ever time for 3000 m run inland.

The cancellation of the Verulam Falcons race saw the Madadeni Marathon as the only race of the weekend where local runner Senzo Nkosi took the line honours in 2:40:48, over two kilometres clear of Biggarsberg’s Bongani Sabelo. Liezel Joubert was the best women over the challenging course in at time of 3:29.28.

Cancellations have already hit the KZN fixture list with the following races having confirmed their withdrawal:

• Lancaster Striders Easter Ultra on March 31.

• Kwasani Freedom Ultra Challenge at Sani on April 27.

• Indian Ocean Marathon on May 5.

The competition commences on Friday this week with the annual Cross Country Parlauf event hosted by Westville Club.

This is for teams of two and sees runners alternating over a one kilometre course.

There are competitions in the main senior and age group categories as well as a mixed option. Stuart Cox at 082 905 4298 has more details.

Nongoma Athletic Club host the Zululand District Ultra Marathon on Saturday. This event is a Comrades qualifier and Manqele has more details at 083 432 9566.

In the Durban region the Stella host their annual two lap Stella Royal 25 km, Cecil Sher is the man behind the organisation on 083 5663333.

Today is the last chance for runners to enter the Old Mutual Two Oceans 56 km.

Madadeni Marathon results:

Men: 1. Senzo Nkosi 2:40:48, 2. Bongani Sabelo 2:48:27, 3. Lindani Sangweni 2:49:25.

Women: 1. Liezel Joubert 3:29:28, 2. Sbongile Shezi 3:40:54, 3. Iris Ndlovu 3:50:13.

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