Two gold medals: KZN runners shine in team and individual awards for Comrades

2010-06-01 00:00

STEPHEN Muzhingi and Elena Nurgalieva may have deservedly dominated proceedings at yesterday morning’s Comrades prize giving, but provincial runners garnered a total of two gold medals, four first places, 10 seconds, and one third-placed award when accounting for team and individual performances.

In welcoming runners and sponsors to the Goldfields prize giving, Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) chairperson Dave Dixon praised all concerned for the success of the 2010 race, the 85th in the history of the event.

“Going into 2010, CMA set some goals and standards to be achieved and those were met in yesterday’s race,” says Dixon. “The question is, what can follow the 2010 event? Please be assured we have already set strategies to ensure the success of 2011 and beyond.”

The 85th running of the race attracted over 23 500 entries, of which 19 600 achieved the required qualification and 17 600 registered at the three-day expo. Despite almost ideal running conditions, only 14 343 of the 16 400 starters made the 12-hour cut-off time, which was a 12% attrition rate.

Muzhingi is unique as a consecutive double down-run champion and the first since Bruce Fordyce in 1984 and 1986 to consecutively defend the down-run title. He is Durban-based but as a Zimbabwean is not included in the provincial awards, which saw Bongmusa Mthembu by far the most successful athlete in the province.

Mthembu’s fourth-placed gold medal finish also secured a first KZN runner award, first 20-29 age group, and the lead in the Mr Price KZN team, which placed second.

Petros Sosibo earned gold for his eighth position, was also first in the 40-49 age group to cross the line and led the Mr Price KZN home in the 40-plus team award. In a great return to the race, 1995 down-run winner Shaun Meiklejohn was the third member of the team in 6:45:37 in 145th position overall.

One of the outstanding performances of the day came from three- time up-run winner Vladimir Kotov who, at 52, powered through to a 14th overall in 5:51:58 to win the 50-59 category. This overshadowed a great run by local Boxer athlete Eloi de Oliveira, who ran into 93rd position in 6:34:33.

Westville’s Wendy Fitzmaurice, earning silver in the 50-59 age category and a member of the second 40-plus team, was the only double medallist among the women, where Melanie van Rooyen from Richards Bay was the first provincial runner in 13th position.

Provincial clubs took second and third in the open women’s team through the Nedbank combination that included Pietermaritzburg’s Kerry Koen, with her previous club, Collegians Harriers, filling third.

Jan Phelan from Hilton Harriers was the fastest 60-plus of the day in an impressive 9:07:57 and the 287th woman to finish. At the other end of the scale, Ann Boniwell, who was brought up in the City of Choice but now runs for Nedbank Central Gauteng, was second in the 20-29 age group behind Russian Irina Vishnevskaya, who earned a debut gold for her seventh place overall.

KZN Awards

Men:

Gold medals (top 10) 4th Bongmusa Mthembu Mr P 5:37:49, 8th Petros Sosibo Mr P 5:45:58

First KZN runner: Bongmusa Mthembu Mr P 5:37:49, Position 4th

Open Team: 1 Mr Price CG 22:56:13, 2 Mr Price KZN 23:25:26: Bongmusa Mthembu, Clement Nkosi, Sandile Makhaye, Eric Ngubane, 3 Toyota CG 23:41:24

40+ Team 1 Mr Price KZN 26:13:13: Petros Sosibo, Enoch Ngubane, Shaun Meiklejohn, Menzi Mkhize, 2 Nedbank EC 27:03:31, 3 Nedbank GN 27:53:32

20-29: 1 Bongmusa Mthembu Mr P 5:37:49, 2 Peter Muthubi Nedbank 5:49:10, 3 Prodigal Khumalo MrP 5:50:54

40-49: Petros Sosibo MrP KZN 5:45:58, 2 Grigory Murzin MrP 5:59:08, 3 Elias Mabane Bidvest 6:09:57

50-59: Vladimir Kotov Century 5:51:38, 2 Eloi de Oliveira Boxer 6:34:33, 3 Aubrey New Balance GN 6:40:56

60+: 1 Jan Meyer Randmark 8:04:01, 2 Freddy Kashiri BOT 8:04:59, 3 Robert Edourd-Betsy Yellowwood park 8:06:52

Women:

First KZN runner: Melanie van Rooyen Canon Richards bay – 7:01:54. 13th position

Open Team: 1 Nedbank GN 28:09:23, 2 Nedbank KZN 32:23:02: Fikile Mbuthuma, Kerry Keon, Hleziphi Ncayiyana, Mahlohonolo Lepheana, 3 Collegians Harriers 33:23:08: Sarah Scott, Kirsty Scott, Meggan Mackenzie, Sonja Palframan

40+ Team: 1 Nedbank GN 32:11:08, 2 Westville 33:51:19, Rentia Denissen, Wendy Fitzmaurice, Megan Finestone, Tammy Dennill, 3 Strand Athletic Club.

20-29: 1 Irina Vishnevskaya RUS 6:44:27, 2 Ann Boniwell Ned CG 7:13:06,Lindy-lee Folscher Heidelberg 7:23:02

50-59: 1 Angie Sadler GBR 7:50:05, 2 Wendy Fitzmaurice Westville 8:11:05, 3 Marie Wolmarans Nedbank SWD

60+: 1 Jan Phelan Hilton Harriers 9:07:57, 2 Carol Cronk Florida 9:18:30, 3 Maria Bernardino Brazil 9:38:05

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