Sun Dec 04 05:55:21 CAT 2016

100km lifts Gift, Gatebe for Comrades

By Daniel Mothowagae | 2016-12-01 09:26:49.0 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Comrades Marathon champions Gift Kelehe and David Gatebe say competing in their maiden IAU World 100km Championships has enhanced their ultra-race game plan a great deal.

The TomTom Athletics Club mates pair - both 35 - helped a five-man Team SA to team gold at the global competition in Los Alcazares, Spain, at the weekend.

This was in addition to their individual medals as the first and third men home in the Masters' category (age 35 and above).

Kelehe finished ninth overall to net his gold in 6:43:00, which was the competition record, while Gatebe grabbed his bronze in 6:44:34 despite coming in at 12th position. Bong'musa Mthembu was the team's best performer with a second-place finish in 6:24:06 behind winner Hideaki Yamauchi of Japan (6:18:22).

However, the SA trio's aggregate time of 19:51:40 handed the country gold ahead of Japan (19:55:46) and the US (20:03:04).

"Running around the same place can drive you crazy because it works on your head, but having overcome this, running 90km in the Comrades will be much easier because it's point to point," said Kelehe, a police officer based in Rustenburg.

Gatebe said: "I want to defend [Comrades title] next year and the experience of holding on in a tough 100km race will make the Comrades route easy to cover."

A sports clerk at Rustenburg's Impala Platinum Mines, Gatebe added that he was proud of his team mates despite their indiferrent results. Rufus Photo came in at a distant 19th in 6:52:43, while 2012 Comrades champion Ludwick Mamabolo covered only 70km in 4:58:02 to finish 89th.

Gatebe and Kelehe still have to confirm their races for next year with their coach John "Colonel Coach" Hamlett, who guided Team SA at the 100km global champs in Spain.

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