Johannesburg - Steven Dikobo and Jenefer Koech took the honours in the 40th edition of the City to City 50km ultra-marathon from Pretoria to Johannesburg on Sunday.
Dikobo who finished fifth in the same event last year, crossed the line in two hours, 53 minutes and four seconds (2:53:04) to win the men’s race ahead of Johannes Kekana and Phahlane Othaniel, who finished third to take the last podium spot.
“I feel really great. I’m so happy I can’t even explain it,” said Dikobo after the race.
“I knew I would win today - I know this course and this is my hometown.
“I came into this race well-prepared and followed my strategy all the way and I’m very happy that things have gone my way.”
The ‘up run’ got underway in perfect weather conditions with the country’s top long-distance runners among the front group.
Dikobo meanwhile, made an unremarkable start and monitored the leading pack from behind. After the first half of the race, he charged ahead and caught up with the leaders, which included defending champion Kekana.
With only 15kms to go, Dikobo moved up a gear to take the lead, leaving a field of just over 3 000 runners behind him.
From that point onwards, he ran comfortably unchallenged and went on to grab his first ultra-marathon victory.
In the women’s race, Koech took the title in 3:27:30 ahead of Caroline Wostmann, who finished second and Samukeliso Moyo came in third.
“I’m very happy to have won, it was a very tough race,” said Koech.
“I did not expect to win because I only finished tenth last year and it’s my third time running this race, so I’m very happy.
“The competition was tough but I managed.”
In the other races, Elroy Gelant and Jodi Moss finished first in the men's and women's 21km event, respectively, while Namakoe Nkhasi and Rutendo Nyahora bagged wins in the 10km race.