Defending champion George Mofokeng and debutant Poppy Mlambo set career best times and were crowned winners at the Nedbank South Africa Marathon Championships in Port Elizabeth.
Mofokeng started cautiously before surging into the lead at 19km. He stayed ahead to win in 2:13:50. Netshifehlefhe (2:14:08) was runner and Lesotho’s Mabuthile Lebopo (2:14:31) third.
“We faced a chilly headwind in the first half of the race. So I tucked myself behind the leaders. My goal was to retain my national title,” says Mofokeng.
Meanwhile, Poppy Mlambo broke away from the women’s lead pack after 10km. She went onto win her maiden marathon in 2:39:19. Runner up Tanith Maxwell (2:40:46) was also inside the IAAF World Championships qualifier. Riana van Niekerk (2:43:00) was third.
“It is a great feeling winning my first marathon. I am glad to attain the World Championship qualifier. My dream is to eventually compete at the Beijing Olympics,” says a delighted Mlambo.
Earlier on April Lusapho (29:18) and Rene Kalmer (34.02) won the men’s and women’s 10km races. “I am gearing up for the Southern Region Cross country Championships in (Blantyre) Malawi in two weeks. It part of my build up to the World Cross country Championships in (Mombasa) Kenya,” says Lusapho.
Mark Ouma for the IAAF
SELECTED RESULTS -
All Athletes are South African unless otherwise noted:
1. George Mofokeng, 2:13:50 PB
2. Bethuel Netshifhlefhe, 2:14:08
3. Mabuthile Lebopo (Lesotho), 2:14:31
4. Tsotsang Maine (Lesotho), 2:14:42
5. Mike Fokoroni (Zimbabwe), 2:15:13
1. Poppy Mlambo, 2:39:19 PB
2. Tanith Maxwell, 2:40:46
3. Rianan van Niekerk, 2:43:00
4. Beata Naigambo (Zimbabwe), 2:43.35
5. Samukeliso Moyo (Zimbabwe), 2:44:28
10 km -
1. Lusapho April, 29:18
2. Joshuia Sabao (Zimbabwe), 29:54
3. Avukile Mtongana, 29:54
1. Rene Kalmer, 34:02
2. Tabitha Tsatsa (Zimbabwe), 34:15
3. Zintle Xiniwe, 35:01