A TEAM of 20 men and 12 women has been selected to represent KwaZulu-Natal in the Nedbank Durban Marathon and SA Championships on February 10 next year.
Sandile Lembethe, who made the top 20 in this year’s Championships in Port Elizabeth, and short distance specialist Moses Lepheana, now moving up to the marathon distance, will spearhead the senior men’s team of eight, which is dominated by the Mr Price club with the vastly experienced Ephraim Xaba (Kearsney Striders) the only athlete from another club.
Next year’s Nedbank Durban event utilises a flat city course as it is open to mass club runners as well as the elite championship athletes, and almost everyone will be looking to qualify. While the majority may be looking for a sub-five-hour Two Oceans or Comrades qualification, the leading championship athletes will be hoping that the event, which doubles as an Olympic qualifier, can provide them with a sub 2:12 (men) or 2:36 (women) time that will put them in line for a trip to the Beijing Olympics in August.
The route comprises a short 18,6-km first lap and longer 23,6-km second lap to prevent the leaders being delayed by those chasing the five-hour mark.
Although still expected to run the Durban race, Gauteng-based Norman Dlomo will no longer need to rely on what could be hot and humid conditions to achieve the qualifying mark. Dlomo finished third in Sunday’s Milan marathon in 2:10:39, improving his PB by just over one minute. In March he ran 2:11:47 in Rome before a disappointing run in the sweltering Osaka conditions at the World Championships. The Durban conditions could provide potential team members with a good taste of what they can expect in Beijing.
Commonwealth Games marathoner Tanith Maxwell tops the province’s women’s selection and will be looking to achieve the Olympic qualifying mark of 2:36 sometime early in the new year.
One of the most powerful combinations in the team is that of the women 40-49 age category. Both Grace de Oliveira and Carol Mercer were close to the three-hour mark in Port Elizabeth in February, and Mercer went on to win the World Masters silver medal in Italy in September. With back-up from either Julie Shadwell or Westville’s Rentia Denissen the KZN team can be highly tipped to defend their 2007 gold medal status.
Moses Lepheana, Sandile Lembethe, Mncedisi Mkhize, Sandile Makhaye, Vusi Sokhela, Philani Memela, Ephraim Xaba, Edwin Manyokele
Men 40 – 49: Peter Sehloho, Eloi De Oliveira, Thomas Mtshali, Israel Mncwango, Herbert Mazongolo, Allen Ndlovu.
Men 50-59: Nicolas Dlamini, Andy Daly, Jeremiah Ngwenya, Sam Mfayela, Richard Dlamini.
Men 60+: Moray Calder
Women: Tanith Maxwell, Thobile Ngwane, Sandy De Beer, Michelle Basson
Women 40-49: Grace De Oliveira, Rentia Denissen, Julie Shadwell, Carol Mercer
Women 50-59: Judith Geldenhuys, Wendy Fitzmaurice, Blanche Moila, Anne Harmsworth.