Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
1 Mar 2015
5:13 pm

Durban marathon flops after pre-race hype

Wesley Botton

Foreign athletes dominated the revived Durban City Marathon on Sunday, with disappointing times produced by depleted elite fields.

Picture Thinkstock

While the organisers had confirmed the participation of major international stars, and predicted a 2:10:00 winning time for the men and 2:30:00 for the women on a “fast, flat course”, a handful of lower-tier athletes delivered mediocre performances in expected hot and humid conditions.

Ethiopian Daniel Derese won the men’s race in 2:15:46, more than five minutes outside his personal best set in Seoul last year.

Derese crossed the line 49 seconds ahead of the second man home, Tsepo Ramonene of Lesotho, with Zimbabwean Munyaradzi Jari taking third place in 2:19:12.

Zimbabwean veteran Tabitha Tsatsa secured victory in the women’s race in a pedestrian 2:50:45, with Moleboheng Mafata finishing nearly three minutes off the pace.

National marathon champion Desmond Mokgobu was the first South African home, ending fifth in 2:23:04, and ultra-marathon runner Riana van Niekerk was the first local athlete in the women’s race, taking fourth place in 2:54:10.

With the 42km event delivering none of the pre-race hype, the 10km athletes stole the show.

Stephen Mokoka, who defended his national title in Pretoria on Saturday, added another victory in 28:33.

While Mokoka had said he would not race in Durban, as it did not fit into his plans, he pitched up on the East Coast and finished 11 seconds clear of training partner Gladwin Mzazi.

Lebogang Phalula won the women’s race in 33:50, with twin sister Diana-Lebo Phalula, who did not compete the day before at the SA Championships despite confirming her participation, taking second position in 33:55.