Cape Town - Kenya’s 22-year-old Morris Gachaga may be softly spoken, but there is nothing wrong with his legs - and did they do some serious talking at the 2017 FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN on Sunday, when the diminutive runner smashed the previous world best on a point to point course by four seconds.
Gachaga crossed the line in 33:27 eclipsing the 33:31 of Sammy Kitwara at the Bay to Breakers in May 2009.
Over 13 000 runners lined the start at Woodbridge Island in Milnerton in near perfect weather conditions.
Once the gun went, the early pace was set by the ever front running Lucky Mohale, but he was soon pulled back by Elroy Gelant, before David Manja surged to the front to pull a lead group including Gelant, Namakoe Nkasi (winner of the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN), Mohale and Gachaga.
It was in fact the Kenyan who started the serious surging to take the bunch through 4km in 11:05.
Pre-race favourite and defending champion Stephen Mokoka fell off the pace very early on and was never in contention from there.
Just past the halfway mark and Gachaga surged again, gesturing for Gelant to go with him and take up the pace, but Gelant declined which meant that Gachaga and Nkasi started to pull away.
Just before the athletes entered the Company's Garden after 9km, Gachaga surged again and took control of the race.
The solitary figure of Gachaga entered Bree Street for the final 800m, bursting into a sprint to cross the finish line in 33:27 to smash the previous world best. Nkasi finished second (33:43) with Gelant having to settle for third for the second year in a row (33:54).
“I expected a tougher race from (Stephen) Mokoka, (Elroy) Gelant and Namakoe (Nkasi), but when they did not go with me after halfway I attacked. At 9km I knew the race was mine so I pushed the pace. Breaking the world best was a bonus. Coming here was a privilege for me.”
Tish Jones was the surprise winner in the women’s race after taking control within the first 3km and never looked back. Jones crossed the line in 39:50 ahead of a fast finishing Nolene Conrad (41:08), with Maria Shai rounding out the top three (41:14).
“My legs were strong after having trained for London Marathon (she finished 18th),” said Jones.
“I really didn’t expect to win here, but the ladies just never went with me and I concentrated on maintaining my pace. I’m surprised, but really happy.”
1. Morris Gachaga 33:27, 2. Namakoe Nkasi 33:43, 3. Elroy Gelant 33:54, 4. Gladwin Mzazi 34:10, 5. David Manja 34:10, 6. Stephen Mokoka 34:43, 7. Joel Mmone 34:56, 8. Lucky Mohale 35:14, 9. Sibusiso Nzima 35:38, 10. Mbongeni Ngcazozo 35:47
1. Tish Jones 39:50, 2. Nolene Conrad 41:08, 3. Maria Shai 41:14, 4. Lebogang Phalula 41:20, 5. Rutendo Nyahora 41:24, 6. Mapasoka Makhanya 41:52, 7. Cornelia Joubert 42:03, 8. Zintle Xiniwe 42.25, 9. Glenrose Xaba 42:33, 10. Christine Kalmer 43:09