The international brigade continued their dominance of the South African road running scene when Lesotho's Mabothile Lebopo (32) ran a perfectly judged race to win the Nedbank SA Marathon Championships in Durban yseterday.
Besides the perennial front runner Frans "The Rabbit" Chauke's stint at the front of the field, much of the first hour's racing was done by Zimbabwean Marco Mambo (36) and Bethuel Netshifefe (35) who made all the running along the scenic but twisty beachfront course, with the 15 strong lead bunch reaching the halfway mark in 65 minutes 30 seconds.
With R100 000 up for grabs for the first athlete across the line the racing up front was tough which meant the pack was quickly whittled down to 10 within the next kilometre. Into the second lap of the course it was Cool Boy Ngamole, Moses Njodzi (25) and Sechaba Bohosi (Lesotho) who took over the lead.
Lebopo (32) - two times winner of the Soweto Marathon - showed his experience racing from the back and joining the leader with 11 kilometres to go but Ngamole's speed and consistent surging quickly had him dropping back to a distant third.
The women's race was also taken by visitors with Namibian Beata Naigamo winning after battling shoulder to shoulder with defending champion Mamorallo Tjoka from Lesotho, with a personal best time of 2:38:43 to Tjoka 2:39:28. Pretoria based Charne Bosman (nee Rademeyer) finished third. - Sapa