The Nedbank Johannesburg Marathon has drawn a quality field with South Africa’s top road runners under pressure to produce after the 2009 National Championships went the way of a foreigner.
While many of the local runners will be using the race as a final preparation for the 56km Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town,┬á
It has been a number of years since South Africa last coughed up a men’s winner of the Johannesburg Marathon and the likes if Nedbank’s Joseph Mphiti (fourth last year), Matthews Nkona (third in 2007), Vincent Seng (fifth in 2006) and Augustine Manamela would want to change this perception.┬á
The two big threats come from Zimbabwe where Two Oceans Marathon hat-trick hero Marco Mambo (Zimbabwe) and countryman Elijah Mutandiro are determined to take a large chunk of prize money north of the border. Some R60,000 is up for grabs to the winner of Sunday’s race and Mutandiro will be a huge threat, given his pedigree of two victories in the Nedbank Soweto Marathon, runner-up in Hong Kong and a winner of the Two Oceans 21km.
In the women’s race the foreigners look set to dominate. Ethiopia’s, Abebe Tola is favourite, armed with a personal best of 2hr 29min, although that was nine years ago in Amsterdam.
Defending women’s champion is Ziombabwe’s Samukaliso Moyo.