South African athletes made it a glorious double triumph for the rainbow nation at Sunday’s Comrades Marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.
Natal Midlands athlete Bongmusa Mthembu successfully defended his Comrades Marathon title, as he dominated the 93rd edition of the race, one of the longest editions ever, at 90.184 kilometres.
It was also his third victory, adding to the 2014 ‘down’ run efforts.
The 34-year-old, in the colours of the Arthur Ford Running Club, clocked a winning time of 5hr 26min 39sec for a huge victory margin over compatriot Joseph Mphuthi (5:35:14). England’s Steven Way rounded off the podium in 5:35:31.
Meanwhile, Mthembu’s female compatriot Ann Ashworth came from nowhere to win what is widely acknowledged as the biggest ultra-marathon in the world.
She won in 6:10:04 to not only notch her first Comrades title but also her first top 10 finish!
The Massmart Running Club founder beat runner-up Gerda Steyn into second (6:15:34) while, just as in the men’s race, a foreigner completed the podium as Russian Alexandra Morozova clocked 6:20:21.
Photos: Mthembu and Ashworth’s winning moments, by ANESH DEBIKY/GALLO IMAGES