Cape Times

Bothma, Mothibi take top honours in virtual marathon


IN HER first race of the year, Cape Town’s Annie Bothma claimed the women’s top spot in this year’s Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon.

Bothma, along with 2019 Comrades Marathon winner Edward Mothibi from Mahikeng in the North West, were named official winners yesterday.

The marathon kicked off at 6am with thousands of runners from all corners of the globe “running Cape Town” along their favourite routes.

Powered by a virtual app and run in local time, runners from Australia, New Zealand and East Asia had their first taste of the unique race format.

The event only drew to a close once the final runner in the US crossed the virtual finish line.

Mothibi and Bothma’s results were announced after altitude adjustment­s were made to level the playing field among the Elite Invitation­al squad’s respective results from Cape Town, Potchefstr­oom and Pretoria.

“It was tough out there, running around for 42km, but it is a huge privilege to be able to race,” Bothma said.

“This is my first race of 2020, my first race since the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon last year. I’m looking forward to 2021. I think hopefully with things opening up now, the world will be in a better place again,” she said.

Running in near-perfect conditions in the Mother City, Bongmusa Mthembu took a comfortabl­e win in Cape Town, finishing in a time of 2:17:31.

Bothma took an early lead in the women’s division, which saw her run most of the marathon course alone – finishing her second-ever marathon in 02:33:35, more than 8 minutes faster than her 2019 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon time.

Meanwhile, the elite field in Pretoria and Potchefstr­oom battled brutal heat conditions.

Despite these challenges, Philemon Mathiba finished the Pretoria course in a time of 02:18:28, while Charne Bosman came in at 02:56:18.

Edward Mothibi won the Potchefstr­oom leg in a time of 02:16:47, while ultra queen Ann Ashworth took the city’s top spot in 02:46:13.

The Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon Elite Invitation­al’s tri-city showdown was broadcast live on SABC2.

“We were so humbled by the absolute excitement of the elite field, and their eagerness to experience a race format that none of them have been a part of before,” said race director Renee Jordaan.

“SA’s top runners were hungry for a race after being grounded for most of the year, and it was evident in the enthusiasm with which they embraced this unique format.”

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