Mzwanele Maphekula won the Knysna Forest Marathon on Saturday, finishing nearly six minutes ahead of second-placed Sandile Ngunuza.
The Bluewater Bay athlete, whose dreams of a gold medal in the Comrades were dashed when blisters forced him to pull out of the race and the lead pack with 20km to go, finished in 2:34:09.
He was nearly four minutes faster than the time set by last year’s winner Motlatsi Seeing.
Leilani Schaeffer won the women’s marathon in a time of 3:17:46.
Nkosinathi Mdan finished first in the half-marathon in 1:09:52.
Last year’s women’s runner-up, Vicky van der Merwe, did it in 1:23:02.
According to organising committee head Leon Brown, president of organisers the Knysna Marathon Club, there were doubts as to whether the race would take place after the devastating fires in the area.
After the fires, many areas were still burning, with lots of flareups,” he said.
“Once the fire came under control [we could] go ahead.
“We were constantly monitoring the routes for partly burnt trees that posed a risk of falling.
“Many were cut down as a precaution to ensure the safety of participants.”
Entry for the marathon was capped at 1 250 and for the halfmarathon 7 250.
Organisers collected six truckloads of Momentum blankets and clothing donated by runners.
These were donated to the needy as the race was under way.
It also collected R1-million for pre-selected charities.
Results: Marathon Men: 1 Mzwanele Maphekula 2:34:09, 2 Sandile Ngunuza 2:49:58, 3 Lindile Tokota 3:41:52 Women: 1 Leilani Schaeffer 3:17:46, 2 Anel van Wyk 3:23:17, 3 Candyce Hall 4:27:47 Half-marathon Men: 1 Nkosinathi Mdan 1:09:52, 2 Michael Bailey 1:11:33, 3 Godwin Heyns 1:12:46 Women: 1 Vicky van der Merwe 1:23:02, 2 Melissa van Rensburg 1:24:18, 3 Anel Terblanche 1:26:57
- Meanwhile, 10 days, five events and one race came to a nail-biting end at the weekend as competitors raced each other and the clock in the final event in the Maserati BIG5 Challenge, the Knysna Forest Half-Marathon.
After completing mountain biking, open-water swimming, trail running and MTB X courses in the previous 10 days, competitors were relieved to have only a 21km run between them and the title of BIG5 Challenge finisher.
In the men’s race, the main duel was between Bradley Weiss and Keegan Cooke for the overall title, with Weiss taking it in an accumulative time of 7:21.05.
In the women’s category, the leader board changed several times during the 10 days of the competition.