Gongqa grabs OMTOM

2017-04-20 06:01
Lungile Gongqa taking a comfortable win in the 2017 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, crossing the finish line in 03:09:43 PhOTO: ImageSA

Lungile Gongqa taking a comfortable win in the 2017 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, crossing the finish line in 03:09:43 PhOTO: ImageSA

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Olympic marathoner Lungile Gongqa took a comfortable win in the 2017 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, crossing the finish line in 03:09:43 and becoming the first Capetonian since 1973 to take the Ultra title.

Gongqa, running his first Ultra Marathon in Nedbank colours, was part of the lead bunch from the start, but broke away after the 47km mark - and again at 52km - to ultimately outpace Lesotho athletes Warinyane Lebopo (2nd in 03:10:21) and Teboho Sello (3rd in 03:11:48) to the finish line.

In the women’s race, Belarusian Maryna Damantsevich had a convincing lead by the half marathon mark, and set the pace early on after a mishap at the start convinced her she had fallen behind. She finished her race with a 10-minute lead.

“Someone bumped into me at the start and I fell a few times. I thought I was in second place, but couldn’t find the woman in front of me, so I ran faster to catch up,” Damantsevich explained via coach Anatoliy Bychkov.

“I am very happy about my win, and I loved everything about the race.”

Jenna Challenor had a strong maiden Ultra, and finished second in a time of 03:47:32. Tanith Maxwell followed in third place, finishing in 03:55:42.

The women’s race was left wide open after a hamstring injury brought defending champ Caroline Wöstmann’s race to an abrupt end at the 11km mark.

In the Half Marathon men’s race, Namakoe Nkhasi successfully defended his title and set a new OMTOM Half Marathon course record in a time of 01:03:15, beating Khoarahlane Seutlaoli (1:03:45) in second place, and David Manja (1:04:19) in third place. Nkhasi was ecstatic about his record-setting win and added that not even the windy conditions could keep his eyes off the prize. In the women’s race, Irvette van Zyl reclaimed her Half Marathon title in a time of 01:13:53. Nolene Conrad arrived at the finish line about 30 seconds later finishing in second place (01:14:27), while Louisa Leballo came third (01:15:00).

“This is a very special race, despite the tough conditions” said Van Zyl. “The wind provided quite a challenge, but I am so happy to come back and take the win.”

After a few days of rain, the 2017 edition of the world’s most beautiful marathon dawned to a cool and windy morning with the promise of clear skies. Although there was a stiff breeze along parts of the route, runners described the day’s conditions as great for running.

According to race doctor, Dr Adrian Rotunno, the medical tent didn’t see too many trauma incidents, which can be attributed to favourable running conditions.

“Some of the most common medical issues included mild dehydration, and a few incidents of exercise-associated postural hypotension where only the simple treatment with lower limb elevation was necessary. Cramping was another complaint as the day progressed.”

Title sponsor Old Mutual’s R1 million prize bonus to the male and female runner breaking the Ultra Marathon records remains safe, as the 1988 and 1989 records established by Thompson Magawana (03:03:44) and Frith van der Merwe (03:30:36) respectively, continue to stand.

Race results

56km men

1st: Lungile Gongqa – Nedbank RC Western Cape (3:09:43)

2nd: Warinyane Lebopo – Maxed Elite - Lesotho (3:10:21)

3rd: Teboho Sello – Maxed Elite - Lesotho (3:11:48)

56km ladies

1st: Maryna Damantsevich – Nedbank RC International – Belarus (3:37:13)

2nd: Jenna Challenor – KPMG Running Club KZN (3:47:32)

3rd: Tanith Maxwell – Boxer Superstores AC (3:55:42)

21km men

1st: Namakoe Nkhasi – Nedbank RC International - Lesotho (1:03:15) * new record

2nd: Khoarahlane Seutlaoli – Maxed Elite - Lesotho (1:03:45)

3rd: David Manja – Nedbank Development Club Central North West (1:04:19)

21km ladies

1st: Irvette van Zyl – Nedbank RC Gauteng North (1:13:53)

2nd: Nolene Conrad – KPMG RC WP (1:14:27)

3rd: Louisa Leballo – Nedbank RC Gauteng North (1:15:00)

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