Mfunzi does it for the Bay

Ntombesintu Mfunzi wins the Nelson Mandela Bay Diva Run
Ntombesintu Mfunzi wins the Nelson Mandela Bay Diva Run
Image: Brian Witbooi

Port Elizabeth’s leading female road runner, Ntombesintu Mfunzi, crossed the finish line in a time of 36 minutes and 27 seconds at Kings Beach on Thursday, to become the first local athlete to win the Nelson Mandela Bay Diva Run.

Besides the gold medal, she also won the R10,000 cash prize.

Ndileka Mvakwendlu was second in 38.49 and Ikhamva Athletic Club’s Luthando Nxanisa was third in 39.24.

Mfunzi who has been openly speaking out about her alleged rape that took place almost two years ago, said things had not been easy and she needed closure.

“During the week I wasn’t OK, because the person . . . was supposed to appear in court on Monday.

“However, on Friday I received an SMS from the advocate informing me that the case has been postponed again,” she said.

“It’s been a year and eight months since the incident and the person who violated me has not been prosecuted.

“I am smiling now because I have won the race. Running is the only thing that makes me feel happy,” the 36-year-old Nedbank Running Club athlete said. “I enjoyed the race. I was not expecting a win because yesterday my coach said I was to do a hard 15km, because we are training for the Cape Town Marathon.

“So, today it was just part of training and I told him I would accept whatever my body gave me on the day.

“This shows that I am ready for the Cape Town Marathon.

“This is my first ever win in the Diva Run.

“I usually come third or second, but never first.

“I am happy that this year the race was won by someone from Port Elizabeth,” she said after crossing the finish line.

“The focus now is on the Cape Town Marathon and after that I am going to take a month to relax and in December start training for Two Oceans, so there is not much rest at all.”

Organiser Irene van Eden said the event had grown in the four years since its inception.

She said the biggest drawcard in 2018 had been the three-year bursary, worth R100,000, from the Pearson Institute of Higher Education.

“We had a lot more entries this year, and maybe the reason for that is the event has been moved back to the public holiday and not on a Saturday,” she said.