Spirits high despite humidity

2019-02-25 14:58

The weekend’s heavy downpours didn’t dampen the spirits of nearly 8 000 runners who entered The Witness Maritzburg City Marathon.

Spectators were out in numbers from the early hours of the morning around New England Road in Scottsville, and surrounds, to watch the race.

For some it’s an early barometer for who will succeed at the Comrades Marathon, and for others simply a test of their fitness.

For Thanda Mbatha it was a day to promote his local running club, Hillcrest Villages.

The Hillcrest resident finished the half marathon in one hour and 20 minutes while wearing a bright green wig.

“I was trying to create interest in running, especially since children in rural areas don’t have the money to enter these races,” he explained.

It was a day of disappointment, however, for veteran marathon runner, Alf Burgess, who dropped out of the full marathon at the half way stage.

Burgess, who turns 80 in May, said it became too hot to continue, adding: “I was on schedule and keeping to my time, but I kept getting cramps.”

The fastest man in the full marathon, Mahlomola Sekonya, said he was not surprised at his victory after training hard.

“I had no problems on the route. I just followed my coach’s instructions,” he added.

Nkosinathi Duma, who came second overall in the men’s category of the full marathon, said the wet ground, due to Saturday night’s heavy storm, was not a deterrent.

“I normally train in Underberg, so I’m used to it,” he added.

Duma finished the race in two hours 22 minutes and plans to run the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town later this year.

Women’s marathon winner, Zinhle Shabalala, said she was able to run another 10 km after crossing the finish line.

It was her first full Maritzburg Marathon, and she clocked in at three hours and 15 minutes.

“To prepare I ran 60 km every Saturday,” the Ladysmith woman said.

Second was Hilton’s Jessica Maitland-Stuart, who started running late because she didn’t get to the venue on time.

“I wanted to leave at 4 am but we ended up leaving a bit later,” she said.

“The race wasn’t bad but around the Oribi area it gets tough because there’s some uphill parts.”

He husband, Barry, also ran the full marathon.

Race director, John Hill, said the event went well, adding that hundreds of people entered trail runs and runs for children on Saturday in the lead up to Sunday’s main event.

Dehydration lands runner in hospital

A man was hospitalised after suffering a seizure during the Witness Maritzburg City Marathon on Sunday.

Nkosingphile Nzimande (37) said he blacked out after experiencing chest pains at the 19 km point in the 21 km half marathon race. His condition was later put down to dehydration.

Nzimande, who lives in Lincoln Meade and works for the Department of Social Development, said he was feeling dizzy and wasn’t running properly as he got to the 19 km point.

“I had set a target for myself to do the half marathon in about one hour and 40 minutes and I was pushing myself to get that,” he told The Witness from his hospital bed.

“Other runners noticed I wasn’t running properly and advised me to sit down. A spectator gave me water and I sat down. He gave me some chocolate and I struggled to eat it. I wanted to lie down, and then someone called over a [race] marshal, who phoned a paramedic.”

Nzimande said he was vomiting and had blacked out at one point. “I thought I was dying. I thought about my two-year-old son and four-year-old daughter and I was fighting to survive.”

He said he would spend a night in hospital to fully recover.

It was Nzimande’s first half marathon. He said he would attempt next year’s marathon if doctors give him the green light.

Other race participants, meanwhile, were treated for minor complications, said Professor Mergan Naidoo, who was part of an emergency team at the race.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  maritzburg marathon
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