Maxwell becomes SA’s fifth fastest

2010-04-26 00:00

TANITH Maxwell became South Africa’s fifth fastest marathoner of all time when she finished 15th overall in the London marathon which was won by Russian Liliya Shobukhova and Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede.

Shobukhova drove much of the early pace taking the quality field through half way in one hour ten minutes and 54 seconds but looked to have given too much too early when she dropped back to fourth place around 30 kilometres. Running along the Thames embankment Shobukhova made her move with country women Inga Abitova to pull away from the Ethiopian challenge of Aselefech Mergia Bezunesh Bekele and Askale Tafa who only moments before had looked to be the potential podium placers.

Shobukhova won the race to the line in a new personal best of two hours 22 minutes exactly, with Abitova 100 metres off the pace and Mergia the best of the rest completing the podium places with a similar 19 second deficit.

Like many top contenders Maxwell had to overcome nightmare travel experiences due to the closure of UK air space as a result of Volcanic ash from Iceland. She had to fly via Dubai to London only arriving in her hotel on Friday evening after 22 hours of travel.

After a fast initial 5km, Maxwell’s pace became more conservative taking her through the half way in one hour 16 minutes and 59 seconds. Even at this stage she was two positions ahead of Romanian star Dita Constantina and as the race progressed the Boxer athlete was to overtake one of the pre-race favourites, American Deena Kaster, whose six day journey to the race was taking a massive toll.

“It was unexpected to find myself ahead of two of my marathoning heroes. When I passed caster I thought ‘wow I have passed two of the world’s best.’ That really motivated me,” said an excited Maxwell at the finish.

Despite a slowing around 32km, Maxwell was able to hang in to record a new personal best of two hours 34 minutes and 24 seconds. The two minute plus improvement puts her fifth in South Africa’s all time list behind Elana Meyer, Colleen de Reuck, Frith van Der Merwe and Annette Falkson. Maxwell’s time is the fastest by any South African woman since Elana Meyer’s 2:31:59 in 2000.

“The crowd was fantastic. They cheered me by name and as a South African. It was amazing,” said Maxwell from London Yesterday afternoon. ”

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