Frans comes up trumps in debut home marathon
Local road running star Melikhaya Frans bagged the R30,000 purse in the 1City Marathon which started and finished at the City Hall on Sunday.
Frans finished in 2:21:32, nearly two minutes ahead of Central Gauteng Athletics Club runner Mbongeni Ngxazozo.
A record entry of 343 marathon runners and 56 relay teams competed for the generous prize purse of more R350,000.
The marathon and relay races were presented by Eastern Province Athletics in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.
Running his debut marathon at home, Frans set a blistering pace from the start and hit the halfway mark in 65:00, but a strong head wind in the home stretch slowed him down.
There were emotional scenes at the finish, where Frans was congratulated by his coach, Mike Mbambani.
“This is a fantastic and welldeserved win for Frans, who takes home the generous winning purse of R30,000,” Mbambani said.
There was a race to the tape for the next three positions.
Andile Motwana (Tinarha), who finished second last year and was trying to repeat the result, tried hard to keep up with Frans, but was chased down by Ngxazozo, who beat him for second place in a time of 2:23:23. Motwana finished third in 2:23:55.
Ngxazozo also won his 3539 age category to pocket R5,000 in addition to his second-place prize money of R17,500. The top 10 finishers received cash prizes.
Local favourite Desmond Zibi, of Achilles Athletics Association, lost his first 50-59 age category race in 2018, finishing second in 2:53:45. Lindile Tokota, of Nedbank Running Club finished first in 2:41:33
Visiting runners once again made a clean sweep of the prize money in the women’s category.
Tabitha Tsatsa, of Zimbabwe, was the biggest winner on the day, going home with the winner’s purse of R30,000 and an additional R5,000 for winning the 40-49 age category. Tsatsa finished in 2:57:37.
She was followed home by Lineo Chaka, of Lesotho, in second place in 3:01:37, with Malineo Mahloko, of Sita Athletics Club, third in 3:02:44.
Poppy Mlambo, of Boxer Superstar, came fourth in 3:05:36, and was also the winner of her 35-39 age category.
Kelly van Vliet, of Up and Running Club, was the first local woman home, finishing sixth in 3:15:19.
The marathon is an early qualifier for both the Two Oceans and Comrades marathons.
Local athletes Siyabonga Kahla, Mvuyisi Gcogco, Amos Nyongo, and Eric Sigxashe made up the strong Motherwell Athletics Club team which won the men’s club relay in 2:25:47.
Roadrunning queen Ntombesintu Mfunzi once again anchored the Nedbank team, which included Vicki Oelofse, Priscilla Dyantyi and Toegeda Vyver, to win the women’s relay in 3:07:59.