Marathon returns to Soweto
The Nike Soweto Marathon on Sunday will bring this rivalry to the fore.
SouthAfricanswillhavetheirworkcut out for them as Kenyan and Ethiopian runners have claimed three top 42.2km titles and won R575 000 in the past month.
In the space of three weeks last month, David Tumo clinched the Western Cape’s PetroSA Marathon (plus R60 000), compatriot Willy Kibor claimed the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon (plus R265 000) and Ethiopian Ketema Bekele Negassa won the Gauteng Marathon and its R250 000 prize.
According to the Soweto Marathon race office, Kenyan, Ethiopian, Lesotho and Zimbabwean runners have shown significant interest in the revamped Soweto race, which has attracted 21 000 entrants this year.
Kenyan Shadrack Kemboi, the 2012 champion, will return to defend his title. He won the last Soweto Marathon in a record time of 2:16:28, beating the time set by Zimbabwean Elijah Mutandiro in 2003 by almost a minute.
Kemboi came fourth in the Cape Town Marathon last month.
Two Oceans Marathon champion and 2010 Soweto Marathon winner Lesotho’s Lebenya Nkoka will be gunning for the 21.1km winner’s medal.
Mamorallo Tjoka of Lesotho has had a stranglehold on the women’s race in Soweto, having bagged an unprecedented seven titles, while three-time winner Tabitha Tsatsa of Zimbabwe is also a serious contender.
The local contingent includes Mapaseka Makhanya (21.1km), Ludwick Mamabolo and Charné Bosman (42.2km) and Elroy Gelant (10km).
The Soweto Marathon was cancelled last year due to a lack of sponsorship. Its troubles were compounded by Athletics SA (ASA) leadership issues.
ASA road running commission ICONIC RACE The Soweto Marathon will be run next weekend after a year’s absence