Ethiopian athletes dominated the first IAAF Gold Label road race to be held in Africa, storming to victory in the men’s and women’s contests at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on Sunday
With nobody attempting to stick with Kenyan pace setter Henry Kiplagat, who ran on his own out front for most of the race, defending champion Asefa Mengstu Negewo sat back in the chase group and produced a late surge to win a hard-fought men’s race.
He finished in 2:10:01, and though he was more than a minute outside the event record he set last year, he was well clear of countryman Ketema Bekele Negasa, who finished second in 2:11:06. Former track specialist Elroy Gelant was the first South African home, taking fifth place on his 42km debut in 2:12:49. In the women’s race, Betelhem Moges Cherenet racked up another victory for Ethiopia in 2:30:22. Pace setter Helalia Johannes of Namibia, who had led for most of the race, held on to finish second in 2:30:28.
In her first marathon of the year, after recovering from injury, Irvette van Zyl took ninth place in 2:36:46, as the first South African across the line. Meanwhile, though there were fast times achieved in the 10km race, it was later revealed that the course had been cut short by around 200 metres. National cross country champions Precious Mashele and Glenrose Xaba won the men’s and women’s races respectively, clocking 28:32 and 33:24.
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