Van almost breaks record

2013-04-03 00:00

OVER 27 000 runners took part in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon on the Easter weekend.

Russian Natalia Volgina took the women’s title, with David Gatebe taking the honours in the feature 56-kilometre event. The surprise victories delivered impressively fast times (3:38,38 and 3:08,54 respectively), given the gale-force wind conditions for what is now the country’s largest road race event.

At the other end of the scale, in one of the smallest races in South Africa — the Digital 24-hour track ultra-marathon at the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane — Johan van der Merwe (with 253,076 km) was a mere 3,33 km short of the South African 24-hour record of 256,40 km set by Wally Hayward in Motspur Park, United Kingdom, in 1953. A field of 15 runners took to the track on Sunday, as the Polokwane-based van der Merwe enthusiastically attempted the record. While he had the advantage over Hayward’s run of home ground and a synthetic track, this attempt was made at altitude, highlighting the quality of the attempt. Van der Merwe paid the price of his fast start in the final hours and will now have to wait on a 24-hour in Hungary in May to add those telling nine laps. Phuti Mohale was the best of the rest, clocking up 177,3 km, while Rene Yiangou was best of the women with 160,8 km.

This weekend sees the first of the SA track and field championships with the sub-youth, youth junior and U23 athletes in action in Pretoria from Friday. Next weekend the seniors compete in Cape Town. Given the absence of the Yellow Pages series, this is the first real opportunity for anyone to achieve qualifying performances for the World Championships in Moscow in August.

Road racing resumes in the province this weekend with the Tronix Marathon and 21 km hosted by uMhlathuze Club on Sunday at 5.30 am. The two events start and finish from Addison Park in Empangeni and cover a challenging course. Charleen Hingle is the contact for more race details at 083 314 4046.

A big crowd is expected for the Oasis Crescent 21 km and 10 km, which will be held over a flat, fast route from King’s Park Stadium at 6 am. Both distances are open to runners and walkers, and the 10 km will be similar to the route to be run for the following weekend’s KZN 10 km championships. Jubeira has the race details at 083 550 0600 and entries will be taken on Saturday at the track.

The first league in the KZN cross-country season will be held from Laddsworth Primary School in Hilton on Saturday, with the boys and girls seven and eight-year-olds kicking off proceedings at 11.50 am. The programme works its way through the age groups until the open men 12 km at 3.40 pm.

The KZN annual meeting will be held on Saturday at Kingsmeade Cricket Stadium at 9 am. More details from the KZN office at 031 312 9374.

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