KZN grab rich haul of Comrades awards

2008-06-17 00:00

A total of 15 gold, two silver, seven bronze and a “hot-spot” award — that was the KZN runners’ haul at the 83rd Comrades Marathon at this week’s prize-giving.

Zimbabwean Stephen Muzhingi led the charge with his third place to win the McCullagh trophy in 5:39,40 behind record-breaking Russian Leonid Shvetsov (5:24.47) and Poland’s Jaroslaw Janicki in 5:38,29.

Mncedisi Mkhize and Willie Mtolo also won top-10 gold for their seventh and 10th gold medals, although both had been registered under Mr Price Central Gauteng.

Athletes who have represented their country at the Olympics, World or Commonwealth Games, and those who have earned gold in Comrades, can be registered in any province in the country, while all others must join a club in the province in which they reside.

Mkhize was deemed the first KZN athlete to finish.

Carol Mercer may have been the only KZN athlete amongst the top 10, but the strong-running athlete also earned bronze in her 40-49 age group, and the first KZN athlete award.

Professor Mollen was rewarded for his front-running efforts with a R5 500 “hot-spot” prize for being first over Cowies Hill. Mollen virtually walked the remainder of the distance to finish in 3 711th place in 10:08,04 to qualify for the award.

Nedbank’s Fikile Mbuthuma and Boxer’s Ntombikayise Mkwae won silver and bronze in the 20-29 age group, Pamela Osborn took bronze in the 60-plus age group in 10 hours 45 minutes 30 seconds, while 65-year-old Dave Rogers became the first runner to earn 43 medals in the 83-year history of the race.

The province also made a significant impact on the team prizes. The local Mr Price club earned bronze in the open men’s category, but it was the women from the local Pietermaritzburg club who really made their mark. Collegians Harriers, the club that originally took on the organisation of the Comrades Marathon, won the CMA Shield with the combination of Kerry Koen (17th), Debbie Eaton (39th), Sarah Scott (90th) and Meggan Mackenzie (242nd). This quartet were 48 minutes ahead of Boksburg and over 70 minutes ahead of the Irene club.

Despite utilising the talents of two 50-plus runners, the Westville club won the 75th Anniversary Shield for 40-plus teams. Megan Finestone (88), Kylie Griffin (80), Lindsey Watkeys (73) and Wendy Fitzmaurice (31) had a combined time of 34:51,45, with Watkeys and Fitzmaurice getting silver and gold respectively in the 50-59 age category.

The team and age category prizes are awarded after the 86,9km challenge, so that that all credentials can be confirmed.

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