Mokoka reclaims half-marathon title in Motherwell

2011-07-06 00:00

MOTHERWELL in Port Elizabeth may have been without electricity, but South Africa’s top road runners were not without power when Stephen Mokoka took only one hour, two minutes and seven seconds to reclaim the South African Lotto Half-marathon Championships title.

Mokoka continues to be the most versatile athlete of recent years. He left Xolisa Tyali in his wake some 100 metres adrift, with Lucky Mohale closing the podium positions in 1:03:04.

The youthful Siyabonga Nkonde was the best of the KwaZulu-Natal runners who did well to overcome the virtual sabotage of the province’s travel arrangements to finish sixth in 1:03:39. Nkonde was selected only after his Boxer Club chairperson complained at his omission. He has previously excelled at cross-country and track, with Saturday’s run his debut in the half-marathon distance.

Tyali led the Central Gauteng squad who placed second, third, fourth and seventh.

The potential battle between Irvette van Blerk and Rene Kalmer failed to materialise when Van Blerk withdrew late last week due to an Achilles injury.

Although chased by Zintle Xiniwe, Kalmer ran home in a useful one hour 12 minutes and 59 seconds. With Kalmer first, Annerein van Schalkwyk third in 1:13:58, and Tanith Maxwell, the first KZN athlete, in fourth the South African marathon team for the World Cup in August in Korea looks to be in good shape. All three women seem capable of 2:30 marathons in cool conditions.

Maya Lawrie and Grace de Oliveira brought home gold and bronze medals from the 40-49 age category. De Oliveira, who is just three days short of moving into the 50-plus age group, ran an impressive 87:08.

With the runners led the wrong way the times were between 35 and a minute slower than they would have been on the correct course.

Professor Mollen won the annual Sardine Half-marathon well clear of the rest of the field, which was led by Sithembele Fanekho of Nedbank. Mollen took 1:08:33 on the Old South Coast Road route, finishing over 500 m clear of Fanekho, who was followed home by Bluff Meat’s Samson Tenai in 70:30.

Amanda Bradshaw was the only woman to finish under the 90-minute barrier, beating the mark by 42 seconds. Debbie Sessions was a distant second in 93:29, closely followed by Nana Sigubudu. The latter duo earned first and second in the 35-39 age group.

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