Ngcobo fights on to takes tape in sizzling race

2011-02-28 00:00

BOXER’S Khanyile Ngcobo won yesterday’s Witness Martizburg Marathon, taking two hours, 29 minutes and 56 seconds to tour the City of Choice in the double lap event.

The 4 000 runners were released onto the city’s roads by the boom of the Naval cannon at 5 am, but it didn’t take long for the half marathon leaders to ease free with the cool early morning start and initial cloud cover providing ideal running conditions over the first lap.

An unfortunate error by one of the race referees saw the whole field of runners directed down an out-and-back section that was only intended for the marathoners on the second lap. Quick thinking by the race organisers saw the error being corrected for the marathoners, but unfortunately resulted in the half marathon runners covering around 250 metres extra.

Although Ngcobo was not far from the front at any time, it was Sibonela Duma who headed the field to complete the first lap in a useful time of one hour, 10 minutes and nine seconds. The Boxer athlete had used the nine-kilometre downhill of the second half of the lap to secure his victory with club colleague Tsepo Shelembe just over a minute adrift.

Collegian Harriers Phelani Ngcobo was third in 1:12:30.

It was as if the half-marathon finish was a signal for the sun to move out of cover and for much of the second lap the marathoners faced ever-increasing heat.

With much of the route lined with local spectators, the runners received considerable encouragement and support along the roads as they headed back to Geere Street and the Drill Hall for the second time.

Ngcobo was assured of victory once he climbed out of Hayfields to head back down New England road to become the only runner to break the two-and-a-half hour barrier.

Sandile Makhaye became the filling in a Boxer sandwich. The Mr Price runner crossed the line just over 600 metres adrift. Delanie Mkhize completed the podium 27 seconds later. Makhaye was also the first in the 35-39 age category

In the women’s races Daniella Adlam led the half-marathon peel off after the first lap, recording a time of 1:23:27 for the extended course.

Visiting Western Province athlete Xoli Madida was just over 200 metres behind Adlam into the Drill Hall but managed to hold off Cary-Ann Smith, who had to settle for third place in 1:24:31.

The route was then open for marathoner Melanie van Rooyen to continue her racing streak and again break three hours to earn top honours in 2:57:37.

Van Rooyen is now clearly in a class of her own in the local races, but could be in danger of falling by the wayside if she continues to race at this intensity.

Thobile Nowane was second home in 3:12:49, with Nicola McMurphy third a further one-and-a-half kilometres off the pace.


Maritzburg Marathon results

Men: 1 Khanyile Ngcobo Boxer 2:29:56, 2 Sandile Makhaye Mr Price 2:32:00, 3 Delanie Mkhize Boxer 2:32:27

Women: 1 Melanie van Rooyen Canon Richards Bay 2:57:37, 2 Thobile Nowane Mr Price 3:12:49, 3 Nicola McMurphy Mtunzine 3:18:11



Men: 1 Sibonela Duma Boxer 1:10:09, 2 Tsepo Shelembe Boxer 1:11:19, 3 Phelani Ngcobo CH 1:12:30

Women: 1 Danielle Adlam Boxer 1:23:27, 2 Xoli Madida Klipriver 1:24:23, 3 Cary-Ann Smith Nedbank 1:24:31

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