Cape Town - Ethiopia's Asefa Mengstu Negewu came back to the marathon that launched him onto
the international stage in 2016 and destroyed a quality field to successfully
defend his Sanlam Cape Town Marathon title in almost perfect weather
a lead pack of six athletes that included Ketema Bekele Negasa, race favourite
Laban Mutai, Duncan Maiyo and South Africa’s Xolisa Tyali, Negewu went through
10km in 30:18, some 13 seconds behind pace maker Henry Kiplagat.
proceeded to pour on the pace and by halfway had extended his lead to 34
seconds over the chasing pack.
Kiplagat went through to the half marathon mark
in 1:04.29 with the pack clocking 1:05.03.
the pack was chasing down Kiplagat and had whittled his lead down to nine seconds
with Negewu driving the bus.
At 35km, Negewu threw down the gauntlet and pulled
away from his rivals to cross the line in 2:10.01.
my title was important to me. I am really happy to be able to defend my title
as this race put me on the map”, said Negewu.
“I was hoping for a faster time,
I wanted to break my course record (2:08.42) but there was a bit of wind
between 11 and 18km which slowed us down, and the guys didn’t want to
work together. So if things go well I would like to come back next year and try
and win the race for the third time and break my course record.”
compatriot Ketema Negessa (2:11.06) with Duncan Maiyo of Kenya taking third
Elroy Gelant in his debut marathon, was the
best of the South Africans.
Running a conservative race, Gelant stayed off the
leaders until the 30km mark before he tried to close the gap. In the end though
running in man’s land for a longer period of time cost him and slowed down in
the latter stages of the race. Nevertheless his 2:12.49 was good enough for
race saw some drama as pace maker Helalia Johannes went out at a blistering
pace, dropping the main protagonists by the halfway mark, reached in 1:15.22.
Strung out behind her were all the race favourites some 38 seconds adrift.
Running comfortably in that chase pack were Meserey Asefan, Betelhem Moges,
Fantu Jimma and Agnes Kiprop amongst others. South Africa’s Irvette van Zyl,
content to sit roughly a minute further down.
By 35km it
was clear that, pacemaking duties fulfilled, Johannes was going for the
win and when she saw the finish line two kilometres out, she must have thought
that the win was hers.
But literally within less than a kilometre to go, she
was caught by Betelhem Moges who went on to win in 2:30.22, Johannes coming
through six seconds adrift (2:30.28) and Agnes Kiprop third in 2:31.00.
looking for 2:27 or faster, but the pace between and 10km and 25km was a bit
slow, so I lost some time there”, said Moges.
When asked if she was worried
about the pace maker being so far ahead, Moges was a bit surprised that
Johannes had stayed in the race for so long.
“I was expecting her to pull out
and was not aware that she was so far ahead, so I was surprised when I saw her
in front of me. But I saw she was struggling and so I surged and caught her.”
Gelant’s fifth place means he was the first South African home and earned him a R100 000 bonus
to go with the R25 000 for fifth place.
Irvette van Zyl's ninth-place finish earned
her R12 000 plus the R100 000 bonus.
Lungile Gongqa earned the provincial men's title, with the race incorporating the
Western Province Championships, finishing 17th overall in 2:24.31,
and Ulrica Stander secured the women's crown by taking 14th in
"There is no doubt now that the Cape Town Marathon has established itself on the global stage. We have IAAF
GOLD Label Status and have seen times that we are not used to in South Africa.
This can only be good for South African Road Running as the standard can only
improve from here," said race ambassador Elana van Zyl-Meyer.
The Cape Town Marathon, Africa's most iconic road race, boasted a mass field of
just under 8 000 entrants, cementing its position among the continent's most
popular road running events.
"It is incredible how quickly the Cape Town Marathon has grown,
with its IAAF Gold Label Status making it the only Marathon in Africa able to
claim such a pedigree. It is phenomenal. And the results show. A winning time
of 2:10.01 is a massive achievement and we are extremely proud of what has been
achieved in such a short time. None of this could have been achieved without
all of our partners, and we are extremely grateful to them,” said race director