National cross country champion Precious Mashele added to his growing list of domestic titles, earning his maiden road running crown on Saturday by clinching a hard-fought victory at the SA 10km Championships in Middelburg.
Mashele, who lifted the national cross country crown a few weeks earlier, broke away in the chase for the line, taking the race in 29:43.
He was just three seconds clear of silver medallist Thabang Mosiako, with defending champion Elroy Gelant finishing third in 29:48.
“It’s good to win any national championship, so this was my goal and I’m very happy to win here today,” Mashele said.
In a wide open women’s race, with all three of last year’s podium finishers missing from the entry list, Lebogang Phalula emerged triumphant.
Bouncing back from calf and hamstring injuries which hampered her progress throughout the 2018 season, Phalula took the national title in 35:57.
Pre-race favourite Jenet Mbhele settled for second position in 36:18.
“It’s been a long time since I won a big race, due to the injuries, but now I’m injury free and I’m pleased with the win,” Phalula said.
“This year I told myself if I can win one title, I know next year will be easier, so this is just the start. It’s a new beginning for me.”
While 87-year-old Deirdre Larkin set a world best in the 85-90 age group, despite falling at the start, her performance could not be considered for record purposes as she entered a younger age group.
“I needed the money, and there was no prize money in my age group, so I had to enter a younger age division (70-75),” Larkin, who ended with a time of 1:03:42, said.
“I will come back next year and try again for the record.”