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SA duo struggle at Tokyo Marathon

By Mark Etheridge

Elite South African athletes struggled to make an impact at Sunday’s Tokyo Marathon in Japan.

Olympian and Paralympian stalwarts Stephen Mokoka and Ernst van Dyk were both in action as Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang ran the fastest marathon on Japanese soil, winning in 2hr 03min 58sec.

That was 1min 01sec outside the world record.

Mokoka ended 36th in a time of 2:16:53 after dramatically slowing over the second half, which he covered in 72:29.

Van Dyk was just inside the top 10 finishers in the wheelchair category, with a time of 1:30:15 behind local winner Sho Watanabe’s 1:28:01.

‘Was a tough day out there today,’ said Van Dyk. ‘Coming off a well-deserved rest phase at the end of 2016, I lacked in speed and endurance today to hang with the fast guys.

‘I got dropped at around 30k and ended around 2min behind the main group. Well done to Sho for taking his first major marathon victory.

‘We really blitzed the first 21km in 41min and I was hanging on for dear life after that. Still several weeks before the big one for me being Boston 2017, and lots of work to do before then.’


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