Two Oceans ‘not to blame’

2019-06-10 16:17
Comrades winner Edward Mothibi crosses the finish line in a time of 05:31:33 at the Golden Horse Casino in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

Comrades winner Edward Mothibi crosses the finish line in a time of 05:31:33 at the Golden Horse Casino in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

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Local road running hero Bongmusa Mthembu says he can’t blame his failure to defend his Comrades Marathon title on Sunday on running the Two Oceans Marathon at Easter.

The Midlands-born runner, who was crowned the Two Oceans champion in April, was stunned by Edward Mothibi in an “Up Run” race on Sunday as Mthembu was attempting to win the Comrades for the third time in a row and fourth overall.

Mothibi took the title at this year’s race in a time of 5:31:33 with Mthembu coming in 25 seconds later.

Japan’s Nao Kazami, who ran the race for the first time yesterday, came in third with the time of 5:39:16.

In the women’s race Gerda Steyn shattered Elena Nurgalieva’s 2004 “Up Run” record by over 10 minutes as she reached the finish line in 5:58:53.

Alexandra Morozova from Russia finished second in a time of 6:17:40 and Ireland’s Caitriona Jennings third in 6:24:12.

Going into the race, many felt Mthembu might have blown his Comrades chances when he ran an impressive time of 3:08:40 at Two Oceans.

Though Mthembu said that was not the case, he feels other factors such as bad weather might have spoilt his chances.

“No, I didn’t feel the Two Oceans on my legs,” said the Bulwer-born runner. “From the start the weather wasn’t so great, the road was so wet and to run against humidity in Durban ... it was bad.

“We ran for two kilometres and we were sweating like hell. We got to Hillcrest and there was mist and coming up to the highest point there’s wind. So, it’s one of those things that are maybe affecting us. I can’t say Two Oceans had an impact on me.”

The three-time champion said he had a good recovery after Two Oceans and commended Mothibi for the “smart race” he ran.

“I can’t take anything away from Edward, he ran his race and he won. I don’t have any complaints, he left me because of his power and mind,” said Mthembu.

“This guy ran a very smart race and that was the end of it for me, but I kept going.

“I’m happy that he [Edward] took the chance and led me because some other guys, you find that they don’t lead, but today he played his card and he got the result.”

The 35-year-old Mothibi said though he finished fourth last year, he really didn’t believe he had a chance of beating Mthembu yesterday, all he wanted was another gold medal.

“I think I did this by God, actually because I remember when Bongmusa and I broke away from the rest of the guys we went neck to neck and when we got to little Polly, I didn’t even know that was little Polly,” said Mothibi.

“So, I kept on going with Bongmusa because I know that he knows the route very well.

“When I saw Bongmusa pushing hard and I said to myself ‘this is the end of me’, but I just kept on running my splits and when I got close to him, I was still feeling strong and I had to use what I was told at training, I pushed hard.”

Steyn said she couldn’t believe that she had not only won her first Comrades Marathon but she is now an “Up Run” record holder.

“I can’t even feel my legs at the moment,” said Steyn.

“I feel blessed and grateful for my race today.

“Last year I was so focused on my plan, and this year I took it the way I felt, and when I realised the record was on I knew that’s where my race was really starting. I gave it my all and left everything on the road.”

2018 women’s winner and this year’s favourite Ann Ashworth finished fourth with the time of 6:27:15.

In spite of Mthembu failing to defend the title, he was the first and the only KwaZulu-Natal runner in the men’s top 10.

Six runners in the men’s top 10 are from South Africa while there were five local runners in the women’s top 10.

Jenna Challenor was also the first and only KZN runner in the women’s top 10.


Men

1 Edward Mothibi (RSA) 5:31:33,

2 Bongmusa Mthembu (RSA) 5:31:58,

3 Nao Kazami (JPN) 5:39:16,

4 Mahlomola Sekhonyana (RSA) 5:43:52,

5 Joseph Manyedi (RSA) 5:44:34,

6 Justin Cheshire (KEN) 5:45:13,

7 Henri Ansio (FIN) 5:45:29,

8 Marko Mambo (ZIM) 5:48:30,

9 Gordon Lesetedi (RSA) 5:52:40,

10 Siya Mqambeli (RSA) 5:52:51

Women

1 Gerda Steyn (RSA) 5:58:53,

2 Alexandra Morozova (RUS) 6:17:40,

3 Caitriona Jennings (IRL) 6:24:12,

4 Ann Ashworth (RSA) 6:27:15,

5 Dominika Stelmach (POL) 6:34:58,

6 Jenna Challenor (RSA) 6:35:18,

7 Aigul Mingazova (UKR) 6:43:56,

8 Charne Bosman (RSA) 6:49:39,

9 Catrin Jones (CAN) 6:52:44,

10 Mary Khourie (RSA) 6:55:27


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  comrades marathon
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