Gongqa snaps 44-year drought

2017-04-18 06:01
Lungile Gongqa won the men’s section of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon on Saturday in 03:09:43, becoming the first Capetonian since 1973 to win the ultra title.

Lungile Gongqa won the men’s section of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon on Saturday in 03:09:43, becoming the first Capetonian since 1973 to win the ultra title. (Roger Sedres/ Gallo Images)

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Olympic marathoner Lungile Gongqa took a comfortable win in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (Omtom) on Saturday, 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 Maxed Elite Lesotho athletes Warinyane Lebopo and Teboho Sello to the finish line.

In the women’s race, Belarusian Maryna Damantsevich set the pace early on after a mishap at the start convinced her she had fallen behind. She finished 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,” she explains via coach Anatoliy Bychkov.

Jenna Challenor had a strong maiden ultra race, 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 course record in a time of 01:03:15, beating Khoarahlane Seutlaoli in second place and David Manja 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, while Louisa Leballo came third.

“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.”

According to race doctor Adrian Rotunno, the medical tent did not see too many trauma incidents, thanks 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.”

Two Oceans Marathon results 56km men

Lungile Gongqa – 3:09:43

Warinyane Lebopo (Lesotho) – 3:10:21

Teboho Sello (Lesotho) – 3:11:48

56km women

Maryna Damantsevich (Belarus) – 3:37:13

Jenna Challenor – 3:47:32

Tanith Maxwell – 3:55:42

21km men

Namakoe Nkhasi (Lesotho) – 1:03:15 (new record)

Khoarahlane Seutlaoli (Lesotho) – 1:03:45

David Manja – 1:04:19

21km women

Irvette van Zyl – 1:13:53

Nolene Conrad – 1:14:27

Louisa Leballo – 1:15:00

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