PE race ‘win­ner’ loses out over num­ber mud­dle

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - RACING -

RACING to his sev­enth South African Half-Marathon ti­tle in Port Elizabeth, Stephen Mokoka con­firmed his sta­tus as the coun­try’s top ath­lete over this dis­tance in the past decade.

The women’s race pro­duced per­sonal bests ga­lore, with the in-form Cor­nelia Jou­bert earn­ing her first na­tional 21km-ti­tle with a time of 1:12:31.

She took six sec­onds off her pre­vi­ous best she set in the Friendly City two years ago, while sec­ond-placed Ma­paseka Makhanya knocked al­most two min­utes off her PB.

Makhanya raced home in a time of 1:12:43 with Diana-Lebo Phalula cross­ing the line in fourth place as the third South African, clock­ing 1:14:25.

Ne­heng Khatala of Le­sotho of­fi­cially fin­ished in third place with a time of 1:12:46.

The race had its own bit of drama with the first two women over the line – Genet Ab­durkadi (1:11.45) and Elis­a­bet Arsedo of Ethiopia – dis­qual­i­fied as they didn’t have their num­bers pinned on their backs.

This meant Ab­durkadi would not be able to claim the R50 000 on of­fer to the first woman in the open cat­e­gory.

The drama in the men’s race was re­served for the road, with a lead group of five run­ners tak­ing charge.

The first four men all dipped be­low 62 min­utes, with El­roy Ge­lant set­ting the early pace but hav­ing to be con­tent with sec­ond af­ter Mokoka beat him to the line by nine sec­onds, with a 1:01:21 fin­ish.

Ge­lant crossed the line in 1:01:30, with Pre­cious Mashele bag­ging the bronze in 1:01:56. Miss­ing out on a podium fin­ish, Me­likhaya Frans posted a new per­sonal best of 1:01:58 for fourth place.

Mokoka won his first half-marathon in 2008 and boast a per­sonal best of 60:40, set two years ago in New­cas­tle, Eng­land. – Ock­ert de Vil­liers

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