Although he failed to finish amongst the podium occupants, long-distance runner Reonard Namupala certainly flew the Namibian flag high with an astonishing time of 2:18:31 to claim 16th overall place at the IAAF Accredited Silver Label race.
With the pacesetters ensuring the race was contested on a fast pace, Ethiopian Asefa Negewo rewrote the history books when he tumbled the long-standing fastest time set on South African soil over 42.2km, held previously by David Tsebe (2:09:50).
He stormed to victory at the prestigious Sanlam Cape Town Marathon last Sunday in a time of 2:08:42 to lift the men’s crown. He was followed by Emannuel Tirop, who crossed the line in second place clocking a 2:08:47, with Baranabas Kiptum adrift in 3rd place in 2:09:21 in a large field of high profile international roadrunners.
Tish Jones won the women’s race in 2:36:13, holding off stiff challenge from another world-class elite line-up – leaving Mergertu Geletu to pick up the pieces for 2nd spot in 2:36:34, edging ahead of South African Lebogang Phalula, who clocked 2:38:00.
Another Namibian runner, the ever-present Lavinia Haitope recorded a personal best time – clocking 2:40:50 after the grueling race. Evergreen Helalia Johannes, won the 10 kilometer race in another commendable time of 32 minutes 44 seconds.
The Namibian finished almost one-minute and 35 seconds ahead of Lebo Phalula (33:25) with fellow Namibian Alina Armas claiming a podium spot in 3rd place with a time of 34-minutes and 15-seconds.
“It was a wonderful experience for me, and I am glad that I could place Namibia on the map and bring back the trophy,” said Hilalia Johannes.
Evans Simataa of Sanlam Namibia applauded this year’s winners, specifically the exploits of Namibian representatives.
“As naming rights sponsors of this iconic Mother City Marathon, its our sincere wish to congratulate each of the runners who took part in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. You have done all the hard kilometers and ultimately reaped the rewards.
“To be able to run the only IAAF Silver Label Marathon in Africa along some of the most beautiful scenery in the world is a true honour. We are especially proud that our athletes went to South Africa with a winning attitude and would like to thank them for walking (or shall I say ‘running’) this journey with us,” Simataa added.
The five Namibian athletes were each presented with a Unit trust, amounting to a combined value of N$30 000, and were also reminded of the importance of investment.
The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, one of Africa’s most iconic road races, attracted a field of 8 000 entrants, a testimony that the annual gathering is fast cementing its position among the continent’s most popular road running events.
“Three years after it was re launched, we have seen this competition develop into a world-class event,” charged an excited race director Janet Welham.
She added that that they are confident it will continue to grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years. “Our ultimate goal is to achieve IAAF Gold Label status,” Welham concluded.