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President Cyril Ramaphosa grace the Soweto Marathon‚ but unable to finish the 10km race

President Cyril Ramaphosa talks to the SABC at FNB Stadium ahead of the start of the 2018 Old Mutual Soweto Marathon on Sunday November 4, 2018. Image:
President Cyril Ramaphosa talks to the SABC at FNB Stadium ahead of the start of the 2018 Old Mutual Soweto Marathon on Sunday November 4, 2018. Image:
Image: President Cyril Ramaphosa/Twitter

President Cyril Ramaphosa took part in the 2018 Old Mutual Soweto Marathon at FNB Stadium but did not finish and pulled after a few kilometres as he had to attend to other engagements.

The President graced the race as part of his Thuma Mina campaign which encourages healthy lifestyle and living for South Africans.

He was ushered on to the FNB Stadium pitch flanked by Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa‚ Gauteng Premier David Makhura and MEC for sport in Gauteng Faith “Mama Action” Mazibuko as ran the shortest race – the 10km.

The President arrived a few minutes late with little fanfare for the start of the 10km at 7am and ran a few kilometres before he was whisked away by his official convoy.

Race organisers said Ramaphosa had to cut his run short as he had other engagements to attend to.

The president has made time in his understandable hectic schedule and will line up alongside the strong field of some 30‚000 athletes‚ who will be pounding through the streets of the historic township.

The main race (42‚2km) started at 6am‚ followed by the 21‚1km at 6.30am while the casual runners resume at 7am.

Ethiopian Sintayehu Legese Yinesu of the Nedbank Running Club was the first runner to cross the finish line of the 25th edition of the race in an impressive time of 2:19:10‚ scooping the men’s title and the R250 000 prize money which comes with it.

But it was South African sweetheart Irvette Van Zyl‚ also of the Nedbank Running Club‚ who stole the show‚ winning the women’s 42.2km marathon for the second year running and setting a new course record of 2:33:43.

She too walked away a quarter of a million richer.

The runners pounded the streets of Soweto and ran past historic sites such as Vilakazi Street‚ which is houses the homes of Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

They also went past the biggest hospital Chris Baragwanath‚ the Hector Pieterson Museum and the Morris Isaacson High school.

Now in his third year as race director Danny Blumberg said every year the event makes huge strides.

“I’m thrilled to see how the running community‚ whether it be the runners themselves or the support and services crew‚ pull together for such a great cause. We work on this event all year round and we believe that we’ve delivered an event that South Africans can be proud of‚” he said.

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