The battle lines have been drawn as top international and domestic athletes go head to head in tomorrow’s ASA Half-Marathon Championship at Pollok Beach.
Both the men’s and women’s field will be very competitive and the event also sees the return of last year’s winners, Kenyans Edwin Koech and Sheila Chesang.
Also gunning for honours in the men’s section will be previous winners Lucky Mohale (2015) and Elroy Gelant (2014), both of South Africa.
Top South African women’s athlete and 2015 runner-up Lebogang Phalula as well as 2014 winner Mapaseka Makhanya, of Central Gauteng, will be among the women to look out for.
On the local front, Port Elizabeth star road runner Melikhaya Frans posted a warning earlier this week that he would be in the field to take the title tomorrow.
Frans won the Home and Equity race at the weekend and is looking in good shape to push the pack to the extreme.
Another Bay athlete, Ntombesinuthu Mfunzi, was less straightforward and said she would be targeting a top-10 finish and also retaining her title as the first EP runner to cross the line.
With prize money of more than R500 000 up for grabs, the race was always going to attract some top contenders and fans can look forward to a closely fought event.
This year, the male and female winners will pocket R50 000 each and the top EPA finishers will receive an R8 000 bonus.
But there is also an added incentive for those doing the 5km fun run as all competitors will qualify to win a motor car in a lucky draw.
The 21.1km route will start and end at Pollok Beach. There will be a full rolling road closure from 5.30am.
The half-marathon starts at 8am and the 5km fun run at 7.30am.
Vehicles can gain access to the start from 8th Avenue as well as from 2nd Avenue into the Bird Rock parking area on the sea side until 7am tomorrow. Parking is also available on the sea side of Marine Drive, at Something Good and on the grass area opposite 9th Avenue.
Vehicles parked on the sea side of Marine Drive will not be able to exit before 11.30am.
Late entries and registration will take place at the Summerstrand Surf Lifesaving Club from 2pm to 8pm today and from 5.30am tomorrow.