Ethiopians running away with SA races

2014-11-09 15:00

Ethiopia’s double triumph at the Soweto Marathon last weekend underlined east Africa’s dominance of South Africa’s premier road races.

Sintayehu Yinesu and Meseret Biru’s wins of the 42km titles – and R100?000 each – in Soweto last Sunday brought to slightly more than R1?million the prize purses Ethiopian and Kenyan distance runners have raked in on our flagship marathons in just less than two months.

The Ethiopians claimed R700?000 from winning the Soweto, the Gauteng and the Cape Town (women’s race) marathons, while the Kenyans ran away with the Cape Town Marathon (men’s race), Gauteng Marathon (women’s race) and the PetroSA races.

South African women’s marathon hope Mapaseka Makhanya believes that Ethiopian and Kenyan runners “know how to win it”.

“There is big prize money and they know how to win it. At the end of the day, we South Africans can’t run five marathons in two months. If you want to run for the next five to 10 years, you cannot do that.”

Makhanya won the women’s half marathon – her first 21km career win – at the Soweto event that had two South Africans each in the men’s and women’s top 10 in the 42km race.

“It’s a matter of us South Africans not wanting to run some marathons. At the end of the day, they are just doing their job. I have proved in the Gauteng Marathon [as a champion in 2013] that I can run against them.

“It’s that just most of the local ladies are not running marathons.”

René Kalmer was the last local woman to win the Soweto Marathon in 2009.

Renowned middle- and long-distance coach Michael “Sponge” Seme said east African runners raise the standards of local marathons.

“It’s good that they compete in our races as their presence gives our runners a good test,” said Seme, whose charge Stephen Mokoka won the Shanghai Marathon on the same day as the Soweto Marathon.

Veteran marathon runner Hendrick Ramaala said: “It’s all in our hands because there’s talent and infrastructure. Our runners just need the will and the desire. But most importantly, we need a national plan now. The east Africans run the marathon as businesses and they have a factory of distance runners.”

»Meanwhile, the SA Half Marathon Championships will take place at Kolonnade Retail Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria on Saturday.

Why are east Africans such good distance runners?

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.