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Pride restored

PORT Elizabeth ultra distance runner George Ntshiliza earned his biggest payday in athletics when he won R250000 for scooping the 42nd Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.

The 31-year-old Ntshiliza restored the pride of South Africa after becoming the first local runner since 2003 to win the yearly 56km event.

Ntshiliza came from behind to stun novice ultra runner Motlhokoa Nkhabutlane from Lesotho and took over with less than 1km remaining to win by 18 seconds.

Ntshiliza crossed the finish line in 3hrs:08 mins.31 secs to be welcomed by Fikile Mbalula, the sport and recreation minister.

Nkhabutlane finished second in 3:08.49, followed by former Soweto Marathon champion Tsotang Maine third in 3:09.19.

Double Comrades Marathon champion Stephen Muzhingi of Zimbabwe was fifth in 3:09.45 in this event where four South Africans placed in the top 10.

Lebohang Mahloane was sixth in 3:10.49 with Zimbabwean Mike Fokorono behind him in 3:11.24.

Malawian Henry Moyo finished eighth in 3:11.31, followed by the South African duo of Peter Muthibi and Vusi Malabola in 3:12.47 and 3:12.55.

As expected, Russian Olesya Nurgalieva retained the women's title in 3:33.58, with her twin sister Elena second in 3:37.54. Lesotho's Mamarallo Tjoka was third in 3.42.12 with SA's Farwa Mentoor crossing the finish line in 3:52.05 after finishing eighth.

The last two gold medals were also won by South Africans with Riana van Niekerk ninth in 3:53.55 and Joanna Thomas 10th after clocking 3:54.55.

In the half marathon event, Lusapho April walked away with the men's title after winning the event for the second successive year, this time in 1:03.58.

Xolisa Tyali was second in 1:04.18, followed by Kgosi Tsotsane in 1:04.35. Namibia's Johannes Helalia won the women's category in 1:11.56.