SA runners speak of Boston bomb

2013-04-17 00:00

THE bombing at the Boston Marathon has turned the athletics world on its head in the past 24 hours.

What is normally seen as a nation-building and uniting sport was ripped apart by two bomb blasts around three hours 55 minutes into the race. This is normally the peak time for finishers and it would seem that the timing of the second explosion was to catch runners and spectators fleeing the finish.

Rene Kalmer was one of the 25 South Africans listed for the start line with six currently shown as non-finishers. Two South Africans are said to have been injured, but their names are not yet known.

Durban’s Ray Meyer (Savages Club) is one of the runners who was there and explained that he was about 700 m from the finish when he was stopped and eventually directed to a different route. The 65-year-old was behind his target time and would normally have been finishing at roughly the time of the blast.

Kalmer had hoped to beat Elana Meyers’s 2:25 time (the fastest assisted 42 km by a South African), but was well off the mark, finishing 17th overall in 2:37,15. Ernst van Dyk finished second in the wheelchair race.

With the London Marathon scheduled for Sunday, the road running world is left reeling, particularly since the culprits have yet to claim responsibility for the attack.

In Europe Tanith Maxwell won the OMV Champions half-marathon run in association with the Vienna Marathon in 1:17,17, almost five minutes clear of Italian Birgit Steinwandter (1:22,03).

“It was an amazing race. Unfortunately, the time wasn’t the best, but I think I was too ambitious in the first half and suffered later,” said the Kloof-based athlete, who opened with a 17:18 for five kilometres but slowed on each consecutive split.

Haile Gebrselassie won the men’s race in 1:1,14 and with similar comments.

“I wanted to run faster, but it did not work today. Maybe I should have started a bit slower,” he said after clocking 61,14 minutes. “I think I can still run faster than today.”

Kenyan Hosea Kipkemboi ran into second spot in 62,01, allowing Gebrselassie to celebrate his hat-trick of wins in this race.

Although a considerably lower-key event than previous years, six athletes have achieved the necessary performances at the SA athletics championships to stake a claim for a place on the team to the world championships in Moscow. Long jumpers Lynique Prinsloo and Zarck Visser earned the senior titles with leaps of 6,81 metres and 8,29 m in the women’s and men’s events. Visser outjumped world and Olympic silver medalist Khotso Mokoena, who only managed 8,11 m

While L.J. van Zyl competed over the 200 m, Cornel Fredericks and P.C. Beneke recorded 48,78 and 49,18 over the 400 m hurdles for gold and silver.

World javelin bronze medalist Sunette Viljoen and women’s 400 m hurdler Annerie Ebersohn set B-grade standards in their events.

Although there are a couple of permit meetings in the next weeks, the main opportunity for qualification will be on the European circuit, which gets into full swing in May.

Around 600 runners lined up for the DAC Calder Cup 10 km race, which covered a single lap of NMR avenue and Kings Park course, and doubled as the KZN championships.

Cross-country exponents Lungisa Mdedelwa and Siyabonga Nkonde led the field home with 29,24 and 29,34 respectively, and were the only two athletes to break the 30-minute mark. The bronze medal went to Monwabisi Cele of the Savages club, who clocked an impressive 30,10, which could see him making the KZN team for the SA championships to be held in Durban on May 19.

Lineo Chaka took exactly 35 minutes to win the women’s race by over 200 m ahead of Jenna Challenor.

The Arthur Creswell Memorial Ultra Marathon 52 km was held for the 48th time on Saturday, with 35-year-old Kenyan Julius Tenai winning a tight tussle that eventually saw him open a two-minute lead over Nedbank’s Matapella Mosoewya and Maxed Elite’s Victor Ngubenaga.

In another tightly fought affair, Fikele Mbuthumea only managed to break away from Pat Dammann with five kilometres remaining, to take the women’s victory in 4:05,02 with Damman around 300 m adrift in 4:06,41 and Wendy Morgan closing the podium in 4:09,02.

The only event this weekend is Sunday’s Chatsworth Freedom Marathon 52 km ultra and 25 km, which starts and finishes at Chatsworth stadium at 5:30 am. More details at 084 839 9781.

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