Kenyan wins ice-bound IAAF World Cross-country Championships

2013-03-27 00:00

JAPHET Korir became the youngest champion yet, when he won the IAAF World Cross-country Championships held over a snow and ice-bound course in Poland last weekend. The Kenyan took 32 minutes 45 seconds for the six-lap race, while 2010 Champion Emily Chebet became the 12th athlete to earn multiple titles in the senior women’s category.

One of the biggest surprises of the day came with the slow starting but fast finishing United States team, who earned the silver medals and pushed Kenya out to bronze, with Ethiopia taking team gold.

The last time the U.S. took any team medal was in 2001, and their last team silver was in 1984, which was the same year that Kenya finished fourth and last failed to make the top two places.

Elroy Gelant and Tumisang Monnatlala provided the best performances among the South Africans, finishing 20th and 19th in the senior and junior event, respectively

With Gladwin Mzazi in 59th, Desmond Mokgobu 87th and David Manja 90th, South Africa finished 12th in the team competition, which is their lowest placing since 1998.

The South African women never featured during the race, with Lebo Phalula the best with a 53rd position followed by Nolene Conrad (79th), Mapaseka Makhanya (86th) and Christine Kalmer (87th), which saw the quartet in a lowly 14th place.

Monnatlala provided arguably the best performance of the day, with a more conservative start that saw him move through the field to his 19th, which is the highest finish by a SA Junior for 15 years.

In fairness, the performances of the South African squad need to be put into perspective and there were many call offs in the build-up to the championship as a result of the delay in announcing the team.

It was only confirmed 48 hours prior to the flight that the team would have sufficient funding to go, and the much-publicised boardroom battles of the federation appeared to be of greater concern.

This, combined with the lack of acclimatisation and preparation for the championship conditions, not surprisingly undermined a top-class performance.

Luzuko Mdeliswa won the Umgeni Water Board Marathon in a relatively slow time of two hours, 36 minutes, 36 seconds, having opened a 160-metre lead over Nedbank’s Sanele Ndelela. South Coast Striders’ Innocent Cele completed the primary podium in 2:43,02.

Forest Hills’ Pat Dammon was the best of the women in the marathon, completing the course in 3:18, 57 and maintaining her edge over Pietermaritzburg-based Nonseikelo Mbambo of the Natal Carbineers Club. Westville’s Wendy Morgan managed to dip under the three-and-a-half hour mark for third spot and second in the 35 to 39 age category, behind Dammon.

The Collegians Harriers attracted over 1 000 runners for their annual tour of the scenic but taxing Midmar Dam resort, which also offered runs over the 32 km and 15 km distances.

Only Carbineers’ Mdu Zondi was able to break the two-hour barrier for the 32 km, recording 1:58,35 for his clear-cut victory over Nedbank’s Andry Nhlangaela (2:06,59), while Tanith Maxwell took the honours in the women’s in 2:09,22 to finish fourth overall behind Paulus Phungela.

Most eyes will be focused on the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon this weekend, with the trail runners tackling the moderately technical 10 km or 22 km routes on the side of Table Mountain on Friday.

On Saturday, it’s the road runners who take over, with 16 000 of them charging up Southern Cross Drive in the half-marathon and close to 11 000 taking on the full 56 km Cape Classic.

This year sees a record field, making it the largest running event in South Africa, and it has attracted over 1 800 international participants with 389 coming from the United Kingdom.

Impressively, there are a total of 74 countries represented in the event.

With the cancellation of the Lancaster Striders Ultra, which was scheduled for Sunday, there are no races in the province this weekend.

Umgeni Water Board Marathon 42,2 km

Men: 1. Luzuko Mdeliswa (Maxed Elite AC) 2:36,36. 2. Sanele Ndelela (Nedbank AC) 2:37,44. 3. Innocent Cele (SCS) 2:43,02.

35 to 39: 1. Lucky Ximba (Muden AC) 4:10,14.

40 to 49: 1. Corneluis Dlamini (Nambithi AC) 3:05,37.

Women: 1. Pat Damman (Forest Hills) 3:18,57. 2. Nonseikelo Mbambo (Natal Carb.) 3:20,28. 3. Wendy Morgan (West AC) 3:29,55.

35 to 39: 1. Pat Damman (Forest Hills) 3:18,57.

40 to 49: 1. Erica Walker (Hilton Harr.) 3:39,43.

Collegians Harriers Marathon 32 km

Men: 1.Mdu Zondi (Natal Carb) 1:58,35. 2. Andry Nhlangaela (Nedbank AC) 2:06,59. 3. Paulos Phungela (Nedbank AC) 2:08,31.

35 to 39: 1. Eric Mandlala (Eskom AC) 2:12,51.

Women: 1. Tanith Maxwell (Boxer AC) 2:09,22. 2. Lauren Calenborne (West AC) 2:32,01. 3. Chine Pieterse (Berts Brick AC) 2:32,56.

35 to 39: 1. Tanith Maxwell (Boxer AC) 2:09,22.

15 km

Men: 1. Sandile Zuma (Coll Harr.) 51,28. 2. Altus Badenhorst (Tuks) 51,33. 3. Vusi Mnyandu (Maxed Elite) 52,03.

Women: 1. Janene Carey (Boxer AC) 61,04. 2. Amanda Bradshaw (Coll Harr.) 62,48. 3. Nonsebo Mthethwa (Umhulthuze AC) 64,6.

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