By Mark Etheridge
London Olympian Lusapho April ran his way into history at the weekend when he became the first man to win a third Hannover Marathon title in Germany.
April, who turns 34 next month, clocked a time of 2hr 11min 27sec. With that he added to his 2011 and 2013 wins.
Just as importantly, his time bettered the qualification standard of 2:19 for the Rio Olympics later this year and his name is now a new addition to the list of qualifiers, the final list will be named by Athletics SA and then sent to SASCOC for final rubber-stamping.
Speaking to Road to Rio 2016 on Monday morning, April said he had been hoping for even bigger things.
‘The race was great, the only problem was that the pacemakers didn’t do quite as good a job as they’ve done in previous years.
‘I really wanted to go for the course record and be the first person to run under 2:08 here as well as the first three-time winner.
‘But I’m happy with the win because the course record can be broken anytime but being the champion is a life-time achievement. With my time I think that’s good enough to put me in the team to Rio.’
Of the race itself, April said: ‘Conditions were good except for the headwind which we had pretty much the whole way. We went through halfway in 64:26 and I was on my own from 25km till the end. I tried to push when I was on my own until 39km when I started to feel tired and it all took a lot out of me.’
April now heads back home to the Eastern Cape. ‘Right now the next thing for me is to recover and then start training for Rio and I’ll probably do some shorter local races in between all the training.’
Runner-up to April was Kenya’s Martin Kosgey in 2:11:54 with countryman Moses Masai some way back in third spot (2:15.43).