Athletes from the Nedbank Running Club (NRC) made a clean sweep at this past weekend’s highly contested Diacore Gaborone Marathon, taking all three podium positions in the men’s marathon and two podiums in the men’s half marathon.
Great performances came from Sibusiso Nzima, Isaac Mpofu and Ngonidzashe Ncube who finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the men’s marathon while teammates Joel Mmone and David Manja took 1st and 2nd in the men’s half marathon.
The Green Dream Team was up against some very strong international competition with 44 countries being represented at the race. Apart from Botswana’s elite long distance team, many elite runners from countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Europe, China, Japan and Namibia competed for the coveted incentive of R1 200 000 (1 Million Pula Challenge) for the first runner to break 2:08 for the marathon.
Clearly there was no match for the Green Dream Team with three podium positions and four positions within the Top Ten in the men’s marathon. Add another three Top Ten positions in the men’s half marathon and it is clear the Green Dream Team showed all other countries who is currently dominating on the road running scene.
It was the third year that the NRC was invited by the organisers to partake in the event, and it seems every year performances from the NRC athletes are getting better and better. As an AIMS and IAAF certified event, and with well over 6 000 participants this year, this race is becoming more and more popular amongst elites and recreational runners.
“I am more than happy with the team’s performance. We dominated the race and I am very pleased,” says Pio Mpolokeng, Team Manager and Development Coach for the NRC. He says the team is back in South Africa and some of them are now focussing on the FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN on Sunday in Cape Town. This race promises more exhilarating running as a strong local and international field will be lining up.
The Green Dream Team will be represented by Sibusiso Nzima, Phillemon Mathiba, Joel Mmone, David Manja and Namakwe Mkhasi. “I have especially high hopes for Joel, David and Namakwe, though I realise we will be up against some very strong competitors from especially Kenya,” says Mpolokeng.
DIACORE GABARONE MARATHON
1. Sibusiso Nzima (NRC) 2:16:57
2. Isaac Mpofu (NRC) 2:16:59
3. Ngonidzashe Ncube (NRC) 2:17:50
7. Obed Kopong (NRC) 2:24:18
1. Joel Mmone (NRC) 1:03:29
2. David Manja (NRC) 1:04:27
7. Ntshediso Nphakathi (NRC) 1:06:21