WITH R1000 on offer for the first male to break 29 minutes and 30 seconds and first female to break 34:00′ a field of more than 1200 runners including Olympic marathon runner Tanith Maxwell (Boxer Superstores) was attracted to last Saturday’s Alpha Pharm and Klinicare 10km.
The incentive of organisers Malabar Athletic Club was however not won as Port Elizabeth’s notorious wind did not play ball. Siyabulela Mtsha from the Eastern Cape Academy of Sport posted a time of 31:18, a second better than last year’s time for first male despite the breeze.
Young Uitenhage-based Mariano Eesou (Plexus Durbanville), who will be joining the host club, finished in second place with Mkhuseli Nyongo (EC Sports Academy) third.
In the women’s category, defending champion Ntombesintu Mfunzi (Mr Price), had to settle for second place behind Maxwell who took the honours in 37.02, compared to 37.25 last year. Thabisa Sirayi (Lions) finished third.
Organisers are confident that with the right competition EPA athletes will soon run under the 30min mark on a regular basis in the men’s races and under 35min for the women.
The 5km race was won by Masibulele Heugh (Mr Price) with Athenkosi Festile and Siyabonga Kahla (both temp) filling the minor places.
The 5km event for ladies was won by Jamie-Lee Schlemmer (Absa NMMU)- a talent to be reckoned with over the cross country and short distances. She was followed home by Natascha de Villiers (ECAS) and Sinazo Kalvas (Lions).
“Saturday’s race proved that given the right conditions our local athletes are capable of fast times,” said race organiser Aziez Madat.
“With a relatively flat course and with the support of our sponsors the race could become one of the premier races in the province.”