Hendrick Ramaala and Tanith Maxwell were crowned winners at the revived South Africa Half Marathon Championships today.
Besides being a national qualifier for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Edmonton, Canada in November, it was the final fitness test for the Marathon team to the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland next month.
MEN – Ramaala is pleased with how training is going
The race got off at a cracking pace with veteran Mech Muthuli leading and covering the opening kilometer in 2:45. Over the next six kilometres Jeffrey Gwebu, Coolboy Ngamole, Shadrack Hoff and Kani Simon took turns leading the race.
Sensing the intense competition, Ramaala made three fartlek surges in the ninth kilometres that not only saw him take the lead but thinned out the chasing group of ten runners. Although he had established a commanding lead, Ramaala stepped up the pace further going through the 10km in 28:45, 13km 37:28. 15km 43:16 and 17km in 49:08.
By then he had a 150m lead over Hoff who was leading the chase. Ramaala who is fond of looking back to see what’s happening slackened in the last four kilometres, though he won the event in an hour one minute and 33 seconds (1:01:33). Hoff (1:01:59), Dlomo (1:02:24), Simon (1:02:33), Sylvester Moleko (1:03:04), Coolboy Ngamole (1:03:20), Lawrence Ntantiso (1:03:32), Mputhumi Ngedle (1:03:39), and George Mofokeng (1:03:42) followed in that order.
“I am pleased with how my training for the marathon at the World Championships. Once I was comfortably ahead in the race, I choose to relax in the last few kilometres as my target is to peak in Helsinki. My target today was to complete the race in under 62 minutes,” Ramaala revealed.
“I am quite impressed with the way our athletes have changed their approach to competitions. They no longer sit back and wait until the last few kilometers before turning up the speed,” said Ramaala.
Hoff who will team up with Ramaala and Gert Thys in the Marathon in Helsinki was equally pleased with the efforts of the other athletes. “With more training and intensity during competitions, they should be able to make the grade at major international meets,” said Ramaala.
Norman Dlomo picked up his pace in the last three kilometres and went on to win the bronze medal. “What makes me even more happy is that I improved my personal best by three seconds. I ran my previous best (1:02:27) at the last national championships in 2001. Now that this national championship has been revived after four year, I hope it will be a regular event on our calendar,” says Dlomo.
WOMEN – Maxwell takes title
The women’s race brought to the fore a new champion in Tannith Maxwell. A group of six women’s were bunched together until the last five kilometers before Maxwell and the Charne Radameyer broke away to take the top two places. Maxwell won her first national title ever in 1:15:52. In the process she bettered her personal best by 20 seconds. Radameyer was second in 1:16:32, while Gloria Baeba was third in 1:16:53.
“I am absolutely delighted. After having bombed out at the Vienna marathon at 28km, this is what I needed to win back some confidence. I will concentrate on shorter races,” says Maxwell.
Radameyer was satisfied with her performance “I sustained an injury after the Soweto Marathon last November, which kept me out of action for several months. I am slowly finding my form and hope to run a fast marathon in November so as to qualify for the Commonwealth Games,” says Radameyer. The Games will be staged in Melbourne, Australia next March.
“I found the race quiet tough as I am not used to running the half marathon in three laps. I am more comfortable in running it on a point to point basis. Well since I improved my personal best by 15 seconds, I am not complaining. Maybe I will one day get used to running this event over two or three laps,” says Baeba.
Mark Ouma for the IAAF
Note: All athletes are South Africa
PB denotes Personal Best
1 Hendrick Ramaala 1:01:33
2 Shadrack Hoff 1:01:59
3 Norman Dlomo 1:2:24
4 Kani Simon 1:02:33
5 Jeffrey Gwebu 1:02:41
6 Sylvester Moleko 1:03:04
7 Coolboy Ngamole 1:03:20
8 Lawrence Ntantiso 1:03:32
9 Mputhumi Ngedle 1:03:39
10 George Mofokeng 1:03:42
1 Tanith Maxwell 1:15:52 PB
2 Charne Radameyer 1:16:32
3 Gloria Baeba 1:16:53 PB
4 Takalani Nthulani 1:17:26
5 Nomsa Ntsethe 1:17:44
6 Nokwanda Funani 1:18:55
7 Betty Phungwayo 1:19:00
8 Nomvuyisi Seti 1:19:16
9 Ntombesintu Mfunzi 1:19:48
10 Smangele Mabuza 1:19:58