Joburg Marathon a golden carrot

The lure of a quick R60000 for the first runner across the line in Sunday's Nedbank Johannesburg Marathon has had the desired effect.

The lure of a quick R60000 for the first runner across the line in Sunday's Nedbank Johannesburg Marathon has had the desired effect.

And once again Africa's finest will be towing the line at 6am outside the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens.

Many of the local lads will be using the race as a conditioner for the forthcoming Two Oceans, but when the golden carrot is dangled, all thoughts of an easy paced run generally go out the window.

South Africa has not had a winner in the Johannesburg Marathon for some time and our country's finest are smarting at being called "softies". The likes of Nedbank's Joseph Mphiti (4th in 2008), Mathews Nkona (3rd in 2007), Vincent Seng (5th in 2006) and Augustine Manamela would want to change this perception.

Our northern neighbours will be well represented again by Marco Mambo of Zimbabwe who has a hat trick of wins in the Two Oceans, and countryman Elijah Mutandiro, who boasts impressive credentials with two victories in the Nedbank Soweto Marathon, a second in the hot and humid Hong Kong Marathon and a victory in one of the country's most hotly contested half marathons, the Two Oceans Half Marathon.

The Toyota club has uncovered a gold mine of talent in the mountains of Lesotho. Winner of the 2007 Soweto Marathon Tebogo Sello must line up as one of the favourites with last year's Soweto winner Moeketsi Mosuhli also expected to be tough to beat.

It has been proven on many occasions - and Sunday's race should be no different - that since the retirement of Elana Meyer the South African women's field has not been able to compare to the foreigners. Ethiopia's Abebe Tola lines up as the favourite, with a personal best of 2:29 in the 2000 Amsterdam Marathon to her credit.

Zimbabwe's Samukaliso Moyo lines up as women's defending champion. - Sapa

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