The performances of athletes from the Nedbank Running Club (NRC) at the recent highly contested Nelson Mandela Bay South African Half Marathon Championships in Port Elizabeth were nothing short of spectacular. The SA women’s title went to NRC’s Mamorollo Tjoko, who set a new course record, while another 7 of her team mates made it into the Top Ten across the women’s and men’s field.
Though Port Elizabeth is notorious for its windy conditions, the coastal city put its best foot forward this past weekend, especially on a new certified course that set the stage for a plethora of personal bests. The course with an out-and-back section on the beach front, followed by a loop and then the same out-and-back section, was suited to fast times from South Africa’s best half marathon runners.
The men’s race was nothing short of nail biting with only 2 seconds separating the first and second runner. The winner, Stephen Mokoka had to overcome tough competition from NRC athletes to defend his title. Athletics Gauteng North’s Mokoka, who also won the race last year, sprinted to the finish line, coming in at 1:01:44, ahead of Bernard Bil, of Nedbank International, Kenya, who was just two seconds behind (1:01:46) and another Kenyan athlete, Linus Ruto, who finished a further two seconds off the pace in 1:01:48.
In the women's race NRC’s foreigners completely dominated their rivals. The win went to NRC Lesotho's Tjoka, who set a hugely unexpected PB and national record of 1:10:46 -- almost 31⁄2 minutes faster than her previous best and national record, set eleven years ago.
Tjoka, was more than a minute ahead of her nearest opponent. With the victory, Tjoka also became the new Southern Region champion. Teammate Susy Chemaimak, of NRC Kenya followed in third position in a personal best time of 1:12:32.
Other athletes from the NRC who did their provinces proud include former Comrades Winner Charné Bosman who finished first Veteran and in her fastest half marathon time in the last two years (1:20:23). NRC’s Bulelwa Simae (WPA) finished second Veterand (1:22:13) while the evergreen Grandmaster Annatjie Botes (ASWD) finished first in a time of 1:32. Great performances followed by the NRC men with Lloyd Bosman (ASWD) finishing 18th overall and Joel Mmone (ACNW) 9th overall in a new PB of 1:02:29.
SOUTH AFRICAN HALF MARATHON CHAMPIONSHIPS (INCORPORATED IN THE NELSON MANDELA BAY HALF MARATHON),?PORT ELIZABETH, 28 JULY
2. Benard Bil (NRC/Kenya) 1:01:46
3. Linus Ruto (NRC/Kenya) 1:01:48
10. Lebenya Nkoka (NRC/Lesotho) 1:02:33
1. Mamorallo Tjoka (NRC/Lesotho) 1:10:46 (NR)
3. Susy Chemaimak (NRC/Kenya) 1:12:32 (PB)
4. Neheng Khatala (NRC/Lesotho) 1:12:42 (PB)
5. Genet Habela (NRC/Ethiopia) 1:12:57
8. Rudo Mhonderwa (NRC/Zimbabwe) 1:14:41 (PB)
ZWARTKOP HALF MARATHON & 10 KM, PRETORIA, 28 JULY
3. Mpho Mooka (NRC) 74:04
3. Emmah Mathibela (NRC) 92:39
FOSKOR HALF MARATHON, PHALABORWA, 28 JULY
1. Sibsuso Nzima (NRC) 1:06 :22
2. Phillimon Mathiba (NRC)
6. Sithembele Faneko (NRC) 70:15
1. Rutendo Nyahora (NRC/ ZIM) 1:18:44
MATHEWS MEYIWA HALF MARATHON & 10KM, HAMMARSDALE, KZN, 29 JULY
2. Thobani Chagwe (NRC) 69:15
3. Linda Cele (NRC) 2:02
1. Xolisile Mwelase (NRC) 01.51
FLORENCE NDLOVU MEMORIAL RACE, 21KM, IMPENDLE, KZN, 29 JULY
3. Nokukhanya Memela (NRC) 01.34
1. Precious Duma (NRC) 1.43.25