Bluff Meats athletes clean up at Chatsworth, peaking in time for Comrades

2010-04-27 00:00

BLUFF Meats Formula One athletes seem to be hitting a peak just in time for Comrades 2010.

Collen Makaza and Shingi Budza were dominant and posted impressive performances in the Chatsworth Freedom day 52 km, which was the final Comrades qualifier.

Makaza, the frontrunner who raced to the halfway hot spot in the 2009 Comrades, took only three hours, three minutes and 31 seconds to complete the gruelling 52 km route around the hilly Chatsworth suburb.

This is a clear indication that Makaza, who was generally overlooked as a serious contender last year, is in top form. Race leaders would be well advised not to let him get too much of a lead on May 30, as this year the Formula One athlete may not be putting the brakes on after halfway.

With defending champion Stephen Muzinghi also showing good form, the Bluff Meats team have a whole spectrum of race strategies to select from come Comrades day.

Muzinghi’s club-mate and training partner Budza was only 700 m adrift in 3:05:54, with Mr Price’s Prodigal Khumalo taking the third podium spot a further 150 m adrift.

Budza added the 35-39 age category award to his winnings.

Maya Lawrie and Melanie van Rooyen diced out the ladies’ race, with Lawrie taking the tape in three hours, 52 minutes and 11 seconds. The Boxer athlete has been dominant in her age category for the past couple of years and once again added the 40-49 group win to her achievements.

Van Rooyen, who kicked the year off with a win in the Hillcrest Marathon, continues to knock out the miles and looks a sound bet for a silver medal in the Comrades providing she can recover sufficiently in the final taper.

If that happens, and based on last year’s results, this could be enough to put her into the top-10 gold.

Mr Price’s Thobile Ngwane was a distant third in 4:15:49, but well placed amongst the 1 336 runners who got in under the six hour and 30 minutes cut-off time.

Bluff Meat Formula One athletes also won both the men’s and ladies’ sections of the 25 km distance at the same event.

T. Teacher led the men home in an impressive one hour 23 minutes and five seconds, almost two minutes clear of Mr Price’s Zimbabwean Richard Nene.

In the ladies’ race, Alicen Manake was well clear of any competition, taking the tape in one hour, 43 minutes and 59 seconds — over seven minutes ahead of Boxers’ Sibongile Mpanza.

An additional 940 runners finished the shorter race, making this one of the province’s largest events and highlighting the massive field preparing for the 85th Comrades at the end of next month.

Chatsworth Freedom Challenge

52 km

Men: 1. Collen Makaza Form One A C 3:03:31; 2. Shingi Budza Form One A C 3:05:54; 3. Prodigal Khumalo Mr Price A C 3:06:33

Women: 1. Maya Laurie Boxer A C 3:52:11; 2. Melanie V Rooyen R/Bay A C 3:55:48; 3. Thobile Ngwane Mr Price A C 4:15:49

25 km

Men: 1. T Teacher Form One A C 1:23:05; 2. Richard Nene Mr Price A C 1:25:00; 3. X Xolani Form One A C 1:25:05

Women: 1. Alicen Manake Form One A C 1:43:59; 2. Sibongile Mpanza Boxer A C 1:51:14; 3. Lauren Calenborne West A C 1:52:0

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