Tanith Maxwell expected to lead KZN across the line

2011-07-01 00:00

THE SA Half-marathon Championships take pride of place nationally this weekend with Stephen Mokoka the man to beat.

The Gauteng North man has dominated track, cross-country and road over the past couple of years, and his recent international marathon time saw him qualify for both the 10 000 metre and the marathon at the World Championships in South Korea.

For this reason he may opt to miss the longer event to focus on the track.

Mokoka won last weekend’s Inter-Provincial Cross-country in Polokwane, taking exactly 37 minutes for the 12 km course. He has the fastest time over the flat, fast Motherwell course, and in good weather can be expected to improve that time.

The ladies’ race will bring Irvette van Blerk, the clear winner of the Durban Spar Ladies race, up against Rene Kalmer, providing the latter has recovered from an ITB injury that saw her withdraw from the ladies’ race after only three kilometres.

If Kalmer makes it to the start line, it will be another opportunity for South Africa’s marathon team of Kalmer, Annerien van Schalkwyk and Boxer’s Tanith Maxwell to compete together.

Surprisingly, the KZN athletics office only named the team on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night athletes were still unaware of their travel details or indeed if the team would go at all given the financial concerns that were exposed at the recent council meeting.

Maxwell, who has a 74-minute best, is expected to lead the KZN women’s team across the line.

With Jenna Challenor, Cary Anne Smith, Danielle Adlam and Janine Carey also lining up in black and white, there is a good chance that a provincial quartet will fill one of the podium places.

The combination of Maya Lawrie and Grace de Oliviera, who moves into the 50-plus group three days after the championships, should set a solid foundation for medals in the 40-plus team awards, but much will depend on the performance of Shani Silver of Kearsney Striders, the fourth member of the squad.

The province will be relying on the experience of Thubalethu Phaku and the youthfulness of Siyabonga Nkonde and Thobani Chagwe in the men’s race where the primary goal will be a top five team placing.

Surprisingly, no athletes have been selected for the 40-49 age group.

Given the standard of Eloi de Oliviera and Nicholas Dlamini in the 50-59 category, an investment in the younger age group could have produced a competitive quartet amongst the 40-plus teams.

Closer to home the South Coast Striders are hosts for the annual Powerade Sardine Half-marathon, which starts from Douglas Mitchell Club in Uvongo on Sunday at 6.30 am.

This is a mildly undulating and scenic out-and-back course on the old South Coast road.

Many runners have found the route conducive to fast times and this is a well-supported run with a great post-event atmosphere.

The race is also open to walkers and the first 600 finishers will receive T-shirts.

Entries will be taken tomorrow between 9 am and noon at the Shelly Centre. Kim Rice has more details at 084 511 7651

Women runners should note that the Spar Chesterville Ladies’ Race, originally scheduled for July 10, was combined with the Durban Spar Women’s race and organised under the KZNA banner in June. This then saw the KZNA ladies’ race fall away.

There is, however, a Totalsports ladies’ race, again organised by KZNA, on July 31.

This will be a pre-entry event only, and forms are available at Totalsports stores. For further information call 031 3129 374.

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