Gun Run could be any­one’s race

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

TO­MOR­ROW marks the 25th an­niver­sary of the OUT­surance Gun Run, with record fields and prize money promis­ing a top qual­ity event.

The half marathon, 10km and 5km fun run have at­tracted 20 000 par­tic­i­pants, mark­ing it as one of Cape Town’s ‘Big Five’ of dis­tance run­ning, along­side the Two Oceans Marathon, the Cape Town Marathon, the Cape Town Onerun 12km and the SPAR Women’s Chal­lenge.

Run over the tra­di­tional cir­cuit from Green Point to Camps Bay and back, the half marathon has boasted high qual­ity fields in re­cent years with na­tional stars David Manja (NW Prov­ince) and Jenna Chal­lenor (KZN) win­ning the se­nior ti­tles last year.

Chal­lenor re­turns to­mor­row and starts favourite in the women’s com­pe­ti­tion, al­though the 38 year old fre­quent visi­tor to the Mother City will have her hands full against 2013 runner-up, For­tu­nate Chidzivo.

The Zim­babwe- born Cape Town based Chidzivo has a string of lo­cal road ti­tles to her credit, but may find it hard work pre­vent­ing KPMG’s Chal­lenor from record­ing her third suc­ces­sive win. Lead­ing trail ath­lete, Stel­len­bosch med­i­cal stu­dent, An­na­mart Laub­scher, put in a rare ap­pear­ance in road com- pe­ti­tion last year and sup­ple­mented her univer­sity fees with an im­pres­sive third place be­hind Chal­lenor and Olympian, Tanith Maxwell, and will be look­ing to dip un­der 1 hr 20 min and re­gain a podium po­si­tion to­mor­row.

Back for the umpteenth time at the Gun Run is 2012 win­ner, Bulelwa Si­mae. The Ned­bank ath­lete re­mains a strong com­peti­tor and will again chal­lenge for a top five po­si­tion and the forty year mas­ters’ ti­tle.

While the women’s line-up looks stronger than ever, the men’s elite field is less pre­dictable, al­though a re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion of lead­ing Cape Town ath­lete, Lindikhaya Mthangayi af­ter a dop­ing-re­lated ab­sence is of in­ter­est.

One of the coun­try’s lead­ing half marathoner’s in the early mil­len­nium, Mthangayi took Gun Run line honours in 2005. At 38 years he will want to prove he can re­turn to his best form and to­mor­row could be an early test of his fit­ness.

An­other Gun Run peren­nial, na­tional marathon record holder, Gert Thys, firmly be­lieves he can still beat the best. At 46 years, the 2004 win­ner and cur­rent na­tional marathon holder has been a reg­u­lar in the Gun Run top five, with his 1:07:21 fourth­placed fin­ish vir­tu­ally the same time as his 2013 ef­fort for fifth.

Lo­cal Ned­bank athletes, Vakalisa Kapolo and Gil­bert Korir, how­ever, may not be in the mood to of­fer char­ity to their older ri­vals and could find them­selves in a bat­tle for line honours, un­less the Rusten­berg-based athletes put in a late ap­pear­ance.

NW Prov­ince athletes, Manja, Joel Mnone (record holder with a 1:02:31 win in 2015) and Xolisa Tyali have dom­i­nated the Gun Run in re­cent years, but their ap­pear­ance to­mor­row ap­pears doubt­ful.

The Half Marathon gets un­der­way at 06h30 in Beach Road at the Ho­tel School with win­ners ex­pected home at the Hamil­tons Rugby Club shortly af­ter 07h30. The 10km race starts at 07h15 with the fun run off at 08h30. – Stephen Granger

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