Kenyan Willy Kibor tore clear of a quality field in the latter stages on Sunday to win the first edition of the relaunched Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
After Kenyan-born Qatari athlete Nicholas Kemboi had done most of the hard work, pushing the pace up front in the first half, Kibor broke away to win comfortably in 2hr 10min 45sec.
With Kemboi dropping back to finish sixth, another Kenyan, Henry Chirchir, was the best of the rest, crossing the line in 2:12:39, while Josphat Kamzee, Kibor’s training partner, was third in 2:13:05.
‘I expected to win the race but it was quite challenging and I struggled from 27km,’ said Kamzee, one of the pre-race favourites.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian athlete Meserest Biru won the women’s race in 2:31:00 ahead of compatriot Goitetom Tesema, who was 59 seconds off the pace, with Kenyan Beatrice Jepkemboi taking third place in 2:33:20.
‘I’m very happy to have won this race,’ said Biru, speaking through a translator.
‘It was easier than I expected — not too fast — because I had planned to go through halfway in 1:11:00 but the wind was strong so I sat with the group.’
Local athletes struggled, despite the race doubling as the SA Marathon Championships. Desmond Mokgobu was the first South African man home, finishing in seventh place in 2:16:17, and marathon debutant Zintle Xiniwe was seventh in the women’s race, clocking 2:41:52.
In-form Irvette van Zyl, who led the women’s race in the early stages, dropped out, while South African veteran Hendrick Ramaala was never in contention in the men’s race.
Stephen Mokoka, who will defend his title at the Shanghai Marathon in November, won the men’s 10km race in 28:44, crossing the line seven seconds ahead of training partner Gladwin Mzazi, who will make his marathon debut in Fukuoka in December.
‘I’m very happy with my time,’ Mokoka said. ‘It was tough but I’m ok. My body is taking strain but I’m very happy with my time.’
Lebogang Phalula continued her fine recent form, winning the women’s 10km race in 33:22.
Men: 1 Willy Kibor (KEN) 2:10:45, 2 Henry Chirchir (KEN) 2:12:39, 3 Josphat Kamzee (KEN) 2:13:05, 4 Shadrack Kemboi (KEN) 2:14:19, 5 Hillary Yego (KEN) 2:15:33, 6 Nicholas Kemboi (QAT) 2:16:14, 7 Desmond Mokgobu (SA) 2:16:17, 8 Laban Moiben (KEN) 2:16:52, 9 Africa Moloila (SA) 2:18:01, 10 Mtoloka Nkhabutlane (LES) 2:18:43
1 Meserest Biru (ETH) 2:31:00, 2 Goitetom Tesema (ETH) 2:31:59, 3 Beatrice Jepkemboi (KEN) 2:33:20, 4 Amelework Bosho (ETH) 2:36:16, 5 Netsenet Achamo (ETH) 2:36:57, 6 Melka Mulu (ETH) 2:37:52, 7 Zintle Xiniwe (SA) 2:41:52, 8 Alemetsehay Kakissa (ETH) 2:42:48, 9 Paulina Njeya RSA) 2:46:54, 10 Thabita Tsatsa (ZIM) 2:48:34