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lebopo bags loot

By unknown | Feb 09, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

For the umpteenth time, the big money in the Nedbank SA Marathon Championships run in Durban went across the border.

For the umpteenth time, the big money in the Nedbank SA Marathon Championships run in Durban went across the border.

This was the case when the defending champion Mabuthile Lebopo (Lesotho) ran a perfectly judged race to beat South African, Enos Matalane (AGN), in 2hrs 13 mins 42 secs.

The 5.30am start didn't help that much as the mercury was in the high 20's by the time the five man lead group turned for home on the Umhlanga highway with only 7km left to the Kingspark Athletics Stadium.

At one stage it appeared that early front-runner Mike Fokoroni had the race tied up with a 53-second lead at the 37km mark.

In the ensuing chase, last year's runner-up Coolboy Ngamole lost his wheels along the road, closely followed by former African marathon champ Johannes Kekana and local lad, Prodigal Khumalo.

Besides Lebopo grabbing the lead and holding it for the closing kilometres, the race of the day was run by young Enos Matalane.

Matalane who chased for his life, had to fight off Fokoroni and a rapidly closing in Kekana and finally lost focus and had to settle for second in 2:15:11, with the Zimbabwean third in 2:15:43.

A remarkably fresh Lebopo let his feet do all the talking because he was notoriously short on words.

"This race was not too difficult for me, [though] I still had some fuel left in the tank," he said.

There was also no R100000 first prize for the South African women as Zimbabwe's Samukeliso Moyo won a sprint finish against Lesotho's Mamarolla Tjoka in 2:43:11.

With both shoulder to shoulder and only 60m remaining, surprisingly Tjoka stopped and walked home surrendering with the bag of gold in sight.

The first local girl home was third-placed Tshifhiwa Mundalamo (Nedbank) from Venda who clocked 2:47:05.

The wheelchair race also went down to the wire with big Ernst van Dyk (91:34) finishing a hair's breath ahead of two Frenchmen, Denis Lemeunier (91:35) and Alain Fuss (1:44:46).

The Nedbank club made a clean sweep of all three podium places with Kenyan, Peter Nderitu first in 28:18 giving Hendrik Ramaala a rare beating (28:28) followed by Lunuisa Luniusa in 28:29.

Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank) was beaten by the Phalula twins in Fridays nights Yellow Pages 5000m but when it comes to the road, her first love, she is almost, winning the 10km in 34:08.

She was followed by Ethiopian, Onele Dintwe (ADT) and Milliam Thole (Tuks) 34:27.- Sapa


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