Lesotho trio rule Two Oceans
Cape Town - Lesotho's Mabuthile Lebopo has won the 41st Old Mutual Two Oceans in three hours six minutes and 18 seconds, leading home a foreign-laden top 10 that proved to be one of the fastest races of recent years.
With the leaders going through half way in 92 minutes, the probability of a fast time was on the cards, but it all seemed to have been lost when early pacemaker Johannes Kekana was caught and dropped by the squad of Lesotho athletes that included Teboho Sello, Lebenya Nkoka, Mabuthile Lebopo, and brother Warinyane, as they approached the steep twisting climb out of Hout Bay.
Only a trio of Lesotho athletes remained when they broke through Constantia Nek. At the top of the Nek it was Sello and Mabuthile Lebopo who pushed the turbo button on their way through and past Kirstenbosch.
Sello paid the price for his over ambition, allowing Lebopo to take control and open almost half a kilometre by the time he reached the tape.
A late charge by Moeketsi Mosuhli, the 2008 Soweto marathon winner, secured the second spot ahead of Sello who filled the final podium place giving Lesotho athletes a clean sweep.
Durban-based Zimbabwean Stephen Muzhingi, overtook the winner's brother, Warinyane, on the field for fourth place.
The reigning Comrades winner, who in pre-race interviews had said he was two months behind in preparation, looked in total control as he crossed the line in 3:10:35.
One of the performances of the day came from 52-year-old Vladimir Kotov who crossed the line in three hours 19 minutes 48 seconds to not only win the 50-59 category, but also take almost 10 minutes off the previous age group record.
Olesya Nurgalieva took the honours in the woman's race in three hours 41 minutes and 52 seconds with her twin sister Elena settling for second spot just over 100 metres adrift.
Although this was the twins' slowest win and Olesya's second victory, the pair have never finished lower than fourth over a seven year period, highlighting the dominance they have in the event.
Adinda Kruger gave an impressive performance in the women's race completing the first half in fifth position and then working her way past Riana van Niekerk, Samukeliso Moyo and Tshifhiwa Mundalamo to finish third in 3:49:23.
This was a massive improvement on her personal best and indicates a marathon potential of two hours 42 minutes and a sub-seven hour comrades.
Mundalamo hung on well to finish fourth in 3:52:21 While Riana van Niekerk who many expected to lead the South African challenge, never looked comfortable and had to settle for sixth in 3:57:57 collecting the last silver medal amongst the ladies.
Local Western Province athlete Lushapo April, won the half marathon edging out Mr Price's Kalvin Pangiso on the run into the UCT field to take the tape in one hour three minutes 54 seconds.
Zimbabwean, Pangiso was only 30 metres adrift at the tape in a race that saw the top six athletes dip under 65 minutes.
Rene Kalmer continued to demonstrate her improved form with a record-breaking run that took her to the tape in one hour 12 minutes 39 seconds.
Her Gauteng training partner, Irvette van Blerk, was second carving just less than three minutes from her previous personal best.
Lesotho marathoner Mamorallo Tjoka was third with South Africa's Leading marathoner Tanith Maxwell was fourth in 76 minutes 19 seconds.
Maxwell was pleased with her performance which was part of her final preparations for London marathon on April 25.
Results on Saturday in the 56km Two Oceans ultra-marathon:
Mabuthile Lebopo (LES) 3:06:18, Moeketsi Mosuhli (LES) 3:07:29, Teboho Sello (LES) 3:07:44, Stephen Muzhingi (ZIM) 3:10:35, Warinyane Lebopo (LES) 3:10:51, Mike Fokoroni (ZIM) 3:11:38, Moses Njodzi (ZIM) 3:12:14, Mpesela Ntloseu (LES) 3:13:37, Nkosiyazi Sibanda (ZIM) 3:15:01, Sandile Ngunuza (RSA) 3:15:42
Olesya Nurgalieva (RUS) 3:41:53, Elena Nurgalieva (RUS) 3:42:19, Adinda Kruger (RSA) 3:49:23, Tshifhiwa Mundalamo (RSA) 3:52:21, Samukeliso Moyo (ZIM) 3:55:32, Riana van Niekerk (RSA) 3:57:57, Joanna Thomas (RSA) 4:02:08, Davera Magson (RSA) 4:02:43, Kerry Koen (RSA) 4:02:57, Mary Coordt (USA) 4:04:10