Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
20 Sep 2015
10:36 am

Kenyans dominate Cape Town Marathon

Wesley Botton

Kenyan athletes dominated the Cape Town Marathon on Sunday, with Shadrack Kemboi breaking away in the latter stages to win the men's race and Isabella Ochichi romping to a comfortable victory in the women's division.

The men’s race started slowly, despite the ideal conditions, with a large lead group going through the halfway mark in 1:06:59, some two minutes outside the pace agreed upon in the pre-race managers’ meeting.

A number of athletes tried to make breaks, surging forward, and while they were all pulled back, the group was slowly whittled down to five runners.

Kemboi eventually laid down the hammer with less than 10km remaining, and gradually drew clear to cross the line in 2:11:41.

It was his third victory over the classic distance in South Africa, after winning the Soweto Marathon in 2012 and the Gauteng Marathon in 2013.

“It was very windy at the beginning, so the pace was not too fast, but I felt strong at 32km and I decided to go for it,” Kemboi said.

South African Lungile Gqonqa ran the race of his life, taking second place in 2:11:59 to smash his career record by more than five minutes, and compatriot Michael Mazibuko was third in 2:12:29.
Ochichi, meanwhile, took complete control of the women’s race and went unchallenged in the closing stages.

The former Olympic 5 000m silver medallist covered the 42.2km distance in a personal best 2:30:20, chopping 37 seconds off the race record set last year by Ethiopian Meseret Biru.

Her performance was the fastest by a woman on SA soil in 25 years.

“This was my third marathon and I’m getting used to the distance,” Ochichi said.

“It is a personal best for me, so I’m getting better, and I’m very happy.”

Eunice Chumba of Bahrain finished second in 2:33:12, and Joan Rotich of Kenya ended third, more than four minutes further back.

Debutant Lebo Phalula was the first SA woman home, in fifth place in 2:38:55.

“It was my first one so I did not know what to expect,” Phalula said.

“Marathons are not for sissies. I learned a lot from this race.”

Former New York Marathon winner Hendrick Ramaala, who finished 10th in the men’s race in 2:17:12, broke the SA veterans’ record (Over-40 age group).

The 43-year-old athlete bettered the 27-year-old mark of 2:17:40 set by Paulus Masilela in Cape Town in April 1988.

William Kaptein won the men’s 10km race in 28:34 and Lebogang Phalula secured victory in the women’s event in 34:12.