Age no barrier for Nobanda

2007-09-16 17:31

Cape Town - A solid race strategy saw 39-year-old Mululeki Nobanda come from behind to win Sunday's City of Cape Town Marathon taking both an Olympic qualifying time, and a purse of R60 000 back to Transkei.

Around twenty athletes formed the large bunch that included 1996 Olympic Marathon champion Joshua Thugwane, who made the early running from the Adderley Street start out Sir Lowry Road to Rondebosch. Thugwane was one of the driving forces to the fore as they moved through Athlone into Pinelands.

With Table Mountain and Lions Head forming the backdrop on the return towards the city, Enos Matalane started to test the pace as they passed the half way in 67 minutes. Crossing Salt River bridge, Matalana hit the turbo-booster to open a significant lead on the return to the city.

Eastern Province athlete, George Ntshiliza and Powerade's Mathews Nkoana were in pursuit but unable to make an impression as they passed the Castle in Strand Street, with Nobanda commencing his move through the field.

The scenic but twisting segment through the Waterfront area allowed the chasers to close, and brought Nobanda in sight of the lead.

By the Mouille Point promenade it was only a matter of time before Nobanda would take the lead as Matalane's early surge was beginning to take its toll.

Once in the lead victory never looked in doubt for Nobanda who gradually opened the gap to cross the line in 2:14:45.

"I'm happy very with this, it was a fast course. I'm surprised to win against these youngsters," said the previous SA champion who joins the 40 plus category later this year. "My strategy was to take the first half easy and move through later in the race."

Nobanda's time was under the IAAF requirement to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Take the lead

A strong running Collen Makaza accounted for both Ntshiliza and Matalane, who was now a spent force and did well to hang on for tenth position by the time he reached the city hall finish in 2:16:09, just under a hundred metres ahead of Ntshiliza.

Namibian Lucketz Swaartbooi, competing for the Harmony club was first in the 40-49 age group in 2:24:44 ten minutes and a dozen positions behind Nobanda.

Ethiopian Asrat Addis, running in the colours of ADT, led the ladies race through the 12km mark in 45:34 chased by a group of seven women including diminutive Eunice Nhlapho, Louisa Leballo and Charne Bosman one minute adrift.

Although Addis increased the lead over the next kilometres, Samukeliso Moyo who had been cruising over the first two thirds of the race, closed in to take the lead just before the promenade turn point.

"I had hoped to get an A grade qualifier for the Olympics," said the Zimbabwean who took line honours in 2:41:30. "My calf seized towards the end - but I am happy, it's an improvement on the 2:48 (I ran) in Korea," continued the Harmony athlete.

Boy Soke won the 10km event, one second over 29 minutes leading the first eleven athletes under the 30 minute barrier, while Lesotho's Tabitha Tsatsa displayed a good recovery from her World Championship marathon in Osaka, to win the ladies race in 34 minutes 10 seconds.