Thirty African runners for Mandela Day Marathon

2012-08-24 00:00

BONELO Duma pulled the field out and up to the peak of World’s View in Saturday’s annual Witness Capital Climb 15 km race, which this year started and finished at Voortrekker High School on Town Hill.

The Boxer athlete, who has regularly made the podium in this event, looked to be going for the top spot when he went through the highest point in 23 minutes, but he hadn’t the legs to hold off the fast-finishing Zimbabwean, Munya Jari. Jari not only caught Duma, but opened up a 90 metre lead to crash through the line. Collegians Harriers’ Sandile Zuma was a relatively distant third.

Previous Comrades winner Shaun Micklejohn, running in home territory, won the 50-59 age group over five minutes faster than Patrick Mkhize, who led the 40-49 age group home.

For Collegians Harriers’ Kristen Williams it was a gun-to-tape effort, leading through the highest point and continuing her domination to finish almost two kilometres clear of Natal Carbineers’ Nonsikehelo Mbambo, with Ria Mornet closing the podium.

Merewent Athletics club hosted the Engen 10 km on Sunday, with Nedbank’s Philani Mkhize taking line honours and only just holding off Bernard Phalatsane of the Bluff Meats Formula 1 club, who finished five metres adrift. Bonita’s Victor Ngubeglanga completed the podium.

Boxer’s Janene Carey was the only woman to break the 40 minute barrier on the flat fast Tara road course, taking the women’s race.

Nedbank’s Cary Ann Smith and Siyabonga Nyember of the Madadeni club were crowned the KZN athletics cross-country championships at a very successful event hosted at the Toti club on Saturday.

Smith was over a minute clear of her nearest rival, Makhosi Mhlongo, when she took the tape, with Puselotso Dladla taking the bronze medal for the eight kilometre distance.

The battle for the senior men’s title was closer, with Nyembe only 150 metres ahead of Thobani Chagwe, and Siphamandla Nyambe in third.

Over 600 runners competed in the 20 event championships where awards were presented in all five age groups. The day doubled as a dry run for the SA cross-country championships, which will be held at the same venue on September 8. An announcement is expected later this week of the KZN teams to the SA championships.

There is a small but talented KZN team making its way to Cape Town this weekend for the SA half-marathon championships to be held in Tokai area over a two-lap course. Olympian Lusapho April is expected to make a return to racing in this event and could well top the podium if his marathon team-mate Stephen Mokoka opts to continue his recovery from the London Olympic marathon.

Rene Kalmer, Irvette van Blerk and Tanith Maxwell, South Africa’s Olympic marathoners, are also expected to sit these championships out, which will leave the door open from some new challengers to step on to the podium.

The major event this weekend is Sunday’s Mandela Day Marathon, which will commence at DUT sports fields in Edendale at 6.30 am and follow a tough, gruelling route up Struggle Hill and a challenging climb to Hilton, then through to Howick before going out to Midmar Dam and on to the new Mandela Capture site museum on the Tweedie Road.

With over R230 000 in prize money, there are also a number of top athletes in the race, including previous SA marathon champion Riana van Neikerk and Comrades gold medallist Kerry Koen, as well as about 30 runners from Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe and one runner from Germany.

The Bluff Meats Formula 120 km race has been cancelled, which leaves the F21 Foskor half-marathon in Richards Bay as the feature event up the North Coast. This offers both the 21 km and 10 km distances and has exceptional prize money, attracting runners from throughout the country. The race is held over a lapped course in and around Richards Bay, starting and finishing at the Zululand Multi Sports Club. For more information, call Casper Kriel at 035 753 3974.

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