Stephen Mokoka stormed to a commanding victory on Sunday, eclipsing the race record and lifting the national title at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
After settling into the lead group in the early stages, Mokoka took control of the pack in the second half, with his opponents gradually slipping off the pace.
Competing in his first 42km race on home soil, he crossed the line in 2:08:31, clocking the third fastest time ever run in South Africa, and the quickest on a non-aided course.
He also became the first local athlete to win the race since Gert Thys back in 2010.
“The race started very fast but after six kilometres they began to maintain it,” Mokoka said.
“We turned into a headwind and started struggling a bit, so after halfway we tried to push the pace, but I’m happy with how the race turned out.”
Kenyan athlete Albert Korir held on for second place in 2:09:02, after losing touch with Mokoka in the latter stages, and his compatriot Philemon Kacherian did well to take third place on his marathon debut in 2:09:13.
Benedict Moeng was the second local athlete home, finishing sixth overall in 2:12:53 to secure the silver medal in the SA Marathon Championships, and Desmond Mokgobu was 10th overall in 2:14:13, earning bronze.
In the women’s race, Commonwealth Games champion Helalia Johannes of Namibia took the win in 2:29:28, with Failana Matanga of Tanzania finishing second in a personal best of 2:30:00.
Nolene Conrad took eighth position overall to win the SA women’s title in a career best of 2:34:39.
In the men’s 10km race, national cross country champion Precious Mashele stormed to victory in 29:11, finishing 15 seconds clear of Jeromy Andreas.
Irvette van Zyl scorched to an impressive win in the women’s contest, clocking 32:48, the second fastest time of her career over the distance.