Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
27 Oct 2015
2:48 pm

Wostmann to continue proud SA history in New York

Wesley Botton

Ultra-distance specialist Caroline Wostmann is the only South African athlete in the elite line-up for the New York Marathon on Sunday.

Caroline Wostmann the winner of the 2015 Ladies Comrades marathon stands with medals that she won previously on 5 June 2015 in Pretoria. Picture: Christine Vermooten

Wostmann, who won this year’s Comrades and Two Oceans ultra-distance races, will hope to continue the nation’s strong tradition in the Big Apple, as she looks to smash her 42.2km personal best of 2:44:57.

She will take confidence from a long list of fine performances produced by her compatriots since the early Nineties.

These are the top five results by SA athletes at the New York Marathon since readmission to international sport:

Willie Mtolo, 1992 (1st place in 2:09:29):

Mtolo had already proved his ability during isolation after setting a personal best of 2:08:15, albeit it on an aided course, in Port Elizabeth in 1986. Without the chance to compete overseas, he had stepped up in distance and finished second in the 1989 Comrades Marathon. With foreign doors finally opened, he tried his hand again at the Olympic distance and capped a superb 42km career be becoming the first South African to win the New York Marathon. He finished more than a minute clear of second-placed Mexican athlete Andres Espinosa

Colleen de Reuck, 1997 (2nd place in 2:29:11):

Having won the prestigious Berlin Marathon in a national record the year before, De Reuck lined up as one of the favourites for the women’s title in the Big Apple. She put up a strong fight but settled for second place, 28 seconds behind Swiss winner Franziska Rochat-Moser. De Reuck, who later became a US citizen, remains the only SA woman to finish on the podium in New York

Hendrick Ramaala, 2004 (1st place in 2:09:28):

Better known for his performances on the track, and over the half-marathon distance, Ramaala proved he had the ability to compete over 42km at the highest level. Breaking away from local favourite Meb Keflezighi with 5km remaining, he drew gradually clear to win by 25 seconds

Ramaala, 2005 (2nd place in 2:09:31):

Returning to the popular race after his success the previous year, Ramaala was again in fine form. Racing neck-and-neck with Paul Tergat through Central Park, he took the Kenyan world record holder to the line, missing out by inches in a sprint finish. Ramaala would go on to secure six top-10 finishes in New York during his accomplished career

Lusapho April, 2013 (3rd place in 2:09:45):

After winning the Hannover Marathon twice in the previous three years, April lined up at a Marathon Majors race for the first time and delivered a fine performance. Though he was unable to stick with the relentless pace of eventual winner Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, or gutsy Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede, he held on to grab the last podium place