World bests fall in Gqeberha
The quality fields made breaking world bests along the Friendly City’s beach front seem easier than pronouncing Gqeberha‚ with three men and two women dipping below the previous marks in the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km event on Sunday.
Irvette van Zyl took the women’s race in 3hr 04min 23sec‚ and runner-up Lilian Jepkorir Chemweno of Kenya (3:05:00) was also inside 3:07:20 set by Alyson Dixon of Britain in 2019.
Poland’s Dominika Stelmach was third in 3:10:26.
Ketema Negasa of Ethiopia won the men’s race in 2:42:07.
Locals Jonas Makhele (2:42:14) and Ntsindiso Mphakathi (2:42:56) were also below the 2:43:38 clocked by Thompson Magawana en route to winning the 1988 Two Oceans Marathon.
Van Zyl and Negasa each won R250‚000 — R100‚000 for the triumphs plus a bonus of R150‚000 for breaking the records.
While Sunday’s fields competed on a flat circuit picked by sponsor Nedbank for the purpose of breaking the world bests‚ spare a thought for Magawana who had to negotiate Chapman’s Peak and the climb from Hout Bay to Constantia Nek 33 years ago.
And then he still had to run another 6km — his 3:03:44 remains the Two Oceans record and his victory earned him a R35‚000 car.
Frith van der Merwe’ 3:30:36 from 1989 is still the Two Oceans’ women’s best.
She finished 22nd overall that year and clocked 3:03:38 for the first 50km‚ a world best that lasted for 30 years.