SA duo make Comrades history

2015-06-01 09:14
FOR the first time in 23 years, South Africans everywhere are celebrating the fact that two South Africans, Gift Kelehe and Caroline Wostmann, are the champions of the 2015 Comrades Ultra Marathon.
Cheering erupted from the stands as South African runner Kelehe crossed the finish line of the 90th Comrades Ultra Marathon in first place, and later as Wostmann went over as the first female winner.
Crowds of cheering fans pushed to get near to the barriers just to get a look at South Africa’s new champions as they entered the stadium.
Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela clapped and cheered with the crowds as South Africa’s runners came in first.
Kelehe lifted his arms in victory as he crossed the finish line, people instantly surrounding him to congratulate him on his first Comrades win.
Spectator Gift Phle said she came all the way from Soweto to support her country’s runners in this year’s ultra marathon.
“I am so happy he won. It feels so great and it is wonderful that a South African has won this year’s Comrades.
“I am just upset I didn’t get to see him clearly,” she laughed.
Pietermaritzburg local Nachette Coetzee said she was so proud of Kelehe that she was moved to tears when he crossed the finish line in first place.
“I cried when he came in first, I was so happy.
“I only saw him for a few seconds but I am glad I got to see him come in,” she said.
Another proud Pietermaritzburg resident Sanele Mabaso said it was not only a victory for Kelehe, but for all of South Africa.
“I am elated. The fact that a South African won this year’s Comrades is a victory for us all.
“It is amazing for him and all of South Africa. I only saw him for about three seconds when he ran into the stadium but it was all worth it,” she laughed.
As Wostmann entered the stadium, the crowds gathered around the finish line erupted in excitement as the Comrades commentator screamed over the microphone that South Africa had “just made history”.
Crossingthe finish line, Wostmann was surrounded by cameras as she sat down on the floor to catch her breath.
Spectator Thobeka Ngongoma said she was “extremely happy” that two South Africans had won this year’s Comrades, and was especially proud of Wostmann’s victory.
“I was scared the Russian twins would win but I am so happy she did this. I am happy that South Africa has done this,” she said.
Another spectator Thembinkosi Mahasele said he had come from Gauteng to witness South Africa’s victory.
“This is not just an international race, it is here in South Africa and I am very proud that South Africa has won this.”


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