Rio Olympian Gongqa wins Two Oceans | TeamSA - TeamSA

Rio Olympian Gongqa wins Two Oceans


South Africa’s Rio 2016 Olympic marathoner Lungile Gongqa took a comfortable win in Saturday’s 2017 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, crossing the finish line in 3hr 09min 43sec and becoming the first Capetonian since 1973 to take the Ultra title.

Gongqa, running his first ultra-marathon in Nedbank colours, was part of the lead bunch from the start, but broke away after the 47km mark – and again at 52km – to ultimately outpace Maxed Elite Lesotho athletes Warinyane Lebopo (second in 3:10:21) and Teboho Sello (third in 3:11:48) to the finish line.

In the women’s race, Belarusian Maryna Damantsevich had a convincing lead by the half marathon mark, and set the pace early on after a mishap at the start convinced her she had fallen behind. She finished her race with a 10-minute lead as she won in 3:37:13.

‘Someone bumped into me at the start and I fell a few times. I thought I was in second place, but couldn’t find the woman in front of me, so I ran faster to catch up,’ Damantsevich explained via coach Anatoliy Bychkov. ‘I’m very happy about my win, and I loved everything about the race.’

Jenna Challenor had a strong maiden ultra, and finished second in a time of 3:47:32. Tanith Maxwell followed in third place, finishing in 3:55:42.

The women’s race was left wide open after a hamstring injury brought defending champ Caroline Wöstmann’s race to an abrupt end at the 11km mark.

In the half-marathon men’s race, Namakoe Nkhasi successfully defended his title and set a new OMTOM Half Marathon course record in a time of 1:03:15, beating Khoarahlane Seutlaoli (1:03:45) in second place, and David Manja (1:04:19) in third place.

Nkhasi was ecstatic about his record-setting win and added that not even the windy conditions could keep his eyes off the prize.

In the women’s race, Irvette van Zyl reclaimed her half-marathon title in a time of 1:13:53.

Nolene Conrad arrived at the finish line about 30 seconds later finishing in second place (1:14:27), while Louisa Leballo came third (1:15:00).

‘This is a very special race, despite the tough conditions,’ said Van Zyl, pictured above absorbing the impact of her win. ‘The wind provided quite a challenge, but I’m so happy to come back and take the win.”

After a few days of rain, the 2017 edition of the world’s most beautiful marathon dawned to a cool and windy morning with the promise of clear skies. Although there was a stiff breeze along parts of the route, runners described the day’s conditions as great for running.

‘Today was about embracing what the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon really is about – a celebration of running and runners. The #RunAsOne spirit was palpable at the start, along the route, and at the finish, we always love to witness how one event can unite people from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds,’ said Carol Vosloo, general manager of the Two Oceans Marathon NPC.

‘We also implemented our #GOGREEN waste management plan this weekend, coupled with our anti-littering campaign. We are still waiting on feedback from our feeding stations, but we are excited to see the non-organic litter discarded into the Throw Zones being transformed into at least 500 school desks for needy schools in and around Cape Town.”

The R1-million prize bonus to the male and female runner breaking the Ultra Marathon records remains safe (and on the new course used in recent years it should do for a long time) as the 1988 and 1989 records established by Thompson Magawana (3:03:44) and Frith van der Merwe (3:30:36) respectively, continue to stand.

Picture of the ultra-marathon winners Gongqa and Damantsevich and half-marathon women’s winner Van Zyl courtesy of Roger Sedres/ImageSA

Race Results
1st: Lungile Gongqa – Nedbank RC Western Cape (3:09:43)
2nd: Warinyane Lebopo – Maxed Elite – Lesotho (3:10:21)
3rd: Teboho Sello – Maxed Elite – Lesotho (3:11:48)

56km women
1st: Maryna Damantsevich – Nedbank RC International – Belarus (3:37:13)
2nd: Jenna Challenor – KPMG Running Club KZN (3:47:32)
3rd: Tanith Maxwell – Boxer Superstores AC (3:55:42)

1st: Namakoe Nkhasi – Nedbank RC International – Lesotho (1:03:15) * new record
2nd: Khoarahlane Seutlaoli – Maxed Elite – Lesotho (1:03:45)
3rd: David Manja – Nedbank Development Club Central North West (1:04:19)

21km Women
1st:  Irvette van Zyl – Nedbank RC Gauteng North (1:13:53)
2nd:  Nolene Conrad – KPMG RC WP (1:14:27)
3rd:  Louisa Leballo – Nedbank RC Gauteng North (1:15:00)

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