South Africa produced a solid all-round performance on Saturday to finish fourth in the men’s team event at the World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.
All three men in the national squad set new personal bests after taking up the challenge laid down by the East African powerhouse nations, reports Sapa.
Stephen Mokoka, who was prominent in the lead group for most of the 21.1km race, dropped back in the latter stages but held on to finish 12th in 1:00:46.
Mokoka improved his career record by 11 seconds, clocking the fastest half-marathon by a South African in 11 years.
Track specialist Elroy Gelant delivered a sublime effort to finish 13th in 1:01:09, and marathon runner Lusapho April was 15th in 1:01:15.
Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor won a highly competitive men’s race on the fast, flat course through the Danish capital in 59:07, finishing 13 seconds clear of Eritrean Samuel Tsegay, with Ethiopian Guye Adola grabbing the bronze medal.
Eritrea secured team gold in 2:58:56, calculated on the combined times of each country’s top three athletes, followed by Kenya and Ethiopia.
South Africa held on for fourth position in 3:03:10, achieving the nation’s best team finish since 2002.
Rene Kalmer was the top SA finisher in the women’s race, taking 27th place in 1:11:52.
Jenna Challenor, a mother of three from Durban, was 47th in 1:14:19, smashing her career record by more than two minutes, while national marathon champion Cornelia Joubert was 66th in 1:17:09.
Kenyan women swept the top five positions, spearheaded by Gladys Cherono who won gold in 1:07:28, as they easily secured the team title in 3:23:02.
South Africa settled for 10th position in the women’s team event in 3:34:20.