SANDILE Ngunuza defended his title with a fine victory in slightly cool and windy weather at The Herald Rafi’s Builders Warehouse Friendly City Marathon at Fountain Vineyard Church fields.
Ngunuza, of Nedbank Running Club, who won in a time of 2.30.02 on Saturday, cited his preparation for the Comrades as the reason for his smooth performance.
“The new Friendly City Marathon route was a good training run, as the first 21km were flat and fast, followed by the more challenging and hilly second 21km, running into the wind,” Ngunuza said.
He has his sights set on finishing in the top 10 of the Comrades, after ending in 14th place last year.
Masande Mlonyeni was second in 2.32.59 with George Ntshiliza third in 2.33.20.
Both runners were from the Nedbank Running Club.
Ngunuza, Mlonyeni and Ntshiliza ran together until the 35km mark, after which Ngunuza broke away to take the lead.
Ntombesintu Mfunzi, of Nedbank Running Club, finished effortlessly, defending her title and improving her time to 3.16.24.
“It was good training for the Two Oceans and the support was amazing,” Mfunzi said.
Jane Barnardo of Body Concept came second in a time of 3.17.54.
Catherine van der Walt, also of Body Concept, finished third in 3.27.45.
In the men’s 10km event, Zolani Ngqaqa, of Absa NMMU Athletics Club, defended his title for the third consecutive year in a time of 32.01.
Frans Melikhaya of Nedbank Running Club finished second in 32.26 followed by Mzolisi Makhanda, of Nedbank Running Club in 32.31.
The first woman to finish the 10km was Adri Wessels in 40.45.
Adri recently returned to South Africa and is living in Walmer Heights.
“The route was very comfortable as this is my regular training route,” Wessels said.
She was followed by Thabisa Sirayi of Lions Athletic Club in 42.07.
Freedah Ncube of Absa NMMU Athletics Club came third in 43.22.
Mzolisi Makhanda was the first man home in the 5km fun run, while Kayla Nell was the first woman to finish the 5km.
The event ended with the popular prize-giving and lucky draw, where a large crowd relaxed at the grounds of Fountain Vineyard Church.
Rafi’s Appliances and Mattresses, Builders Warehouse and Adidas sponsored prizes valued at more than R40000, to huge applause from the audience.