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WHAT A WEEKEND OF SUPERB RUNNING

05 November 2017


From Soweto to New York, it was a weekend of records, inspiration and the most superb running all around. If you’ve missed some of the actions, or want a quick recap, we’ve put together some of the weekend’s highlights.
 
TCS New York Marathon
Women’s race
The world’s biggest marathon was certainly nothing short of spectacular with Shalane Flanagan, at age 36, becoming the first American woman in 40 years to win this race. All eyes were on Flanagan and race favourite Kenyan Mary Keitany, before Flanagan took the lead and finished in one of the most spectacular women’s finishes of all times. An emotional Flanagan broke the tape in 2:26.55
 
With this Flanagan beat the three-time defending champion Keitany, who too was chasing history as she was attempting to join Grete Waitz as the only women to compile a winning streak of at least four. But Flanagan proved too determined and strong for Keitany. It seemed as if she got stronger and stronger as the race went on and with a few colourful words and her arm pumping in the air she broke the tape in a very emotional finish.
 
Men’s race
Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, a two-time world champion in the half marathon, won the men’s race. It was his first New York City Marathon. His time was 2:10:53. Wilson Kipsang of Kenya finished second in 2:10:56, just a few strides behind Kamworor. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia was third in 2:11:32. Kamworor is the 14th Kenyan to win the men’s race here.
 
One of the highlights of the race was seeing an emotional 42-year-old Meb Keflezighi finishing 11th in what was his 26th and final race. It was his 11th New York City Marathon. Keflezighi won the race in 2009 and won the Boston Marathon in 2014.
 
Several South Africans were part of the more than 50 000 runners that took on this iconic event. One of the better-known South Africans, especially within the Comrades community, is the official Comrades coach Lindsey Parry who finished in a brilliant time of 2:53:52.
 

Old Mutual Soweto Marathon
Women’s race
Nedbank Running Club’s (NRC) Irvette van Zyl became the first South African winner of the Soweto Marathon since 2009, breaking the tape in 2:41:04 and ending foreign domination in what is referred to as the People’s Race. Team Massmart’s Mapaseka Makhanya made it two in a row for South Africa with another brilliant performance, finishing second in a time of 2:44:37. Mapaseka flew the flag high for Team Massmart, SA’s newest all women’s elite running team launched last week.
 
An emotional Van Zyl said she didn't think she would win. "I thought Mapa was too far ahead. But it meant a lot to me. In 2011 I wasn't able to complete the race. I finished in a taxi. Last year I had injury problems. Today was an emotional win. I feel blessed and humbled to be part of the People’s Race again this year. It’s definitely going to hurt tomorrow but it is and was worth it. Thanks to my special team that supports me through the lows and the highs. A high like today can only be appreciated when you’ve hit the lowest lows.” And how did Van Zyl celebrate her victory? With a meal from KFC!
 
The Nedbank Running Club’s domination at the Soweto Marathon proved to be strong with the women’s half marathon winner and NRC athlete Patience Murorwe finishing first in a time of 1:21. Glenrose Xaba won the women’s 10km race in 35:33 followed by NRC’s Rutendo Nyahora (35:42).
 
Men’s race
The men’s marathon saw Lesotho’s Tsepo Mathibelle cross the line in a time of 2:19:41, ahead of defending and three-time champion Sintayeha Legese of Ethiopia. Ntsindiso Mphakati claimed third place and was also first South African over the line. The half marathon saw NRC’s David Manja take honours, crossing the line in 1:06:14 while his teammate and 10km Soweto Marathon defending champion Namakoe Lucky Nkasi finishing in 30:52.
 
Inspiration
There was no shortage of inspirational runners at the Soweto Marathon, but special mention goes to blind runner Louzanne Coetzee who finished the marathon in a time of 3:31, a new African record for a blind runner.
 
Kaapsehoop UniWISP 3in1
Women’s race
SA’s newest all female elite running team - Team Massmart - dominated the women’s race at Kaapsehoop, taking 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th positions. Club Captain Ann Ashworth finished first in 2:54:49 with club mates Mia van Heerden second in 2:55:44, Vicky Hansen third in 2:55:53 and Catherine Malungane fifth in 2:56:05.
 
“I think the girls felt really motivated to do well in their races this weekend, given that we have just launched and it was the first time we were out in club colours. It has been wonderful watching, running together with and supporting our team mates these past few days,” said Ashworth.
 
Men’s race
The men’s marathon saw Go Lesetedi win in a time of 2:28:39. Lesetedi’s coach is John Hamlett, one of SA’s most successful coaches, who also the coach of women’s winner Ashworth.
 
The half marathon saw Tandeai Afonso take honours in 1:09:02 while Teresa Nigrini won the women’s race in a time of 1:18:29.
 
The event incorporated the SA 10km Champs, which saw Elroy Gelant cross the line first in 29:08 followed by Gladwin Mzazi in 29:15. Kesa Molotsane won the women’s race in 33:38 with Nolene Conrad following in second place in a time of 33:58.
  
With a jam packed weekend of such superb running globally, it seems the streets from Jo’burg to New York might just be a tad quieter as many runners start their recovery period and take some well deserved time off. 



Article Keywordsnew york city marathon soweto marathon kaapsehoop



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