SA’s Comrades golden boy Mamabolo ‘grateful’

The 35-year-old, who came seventh last year and second in 2010, broke the foreign stranglehold on the annual event to win the 89km “down” run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in five hours, 31 minutes and three seconds (5:31.03), keeping Zimbabwe’s Stephen Muzhingi from winning a fourth successive crown.
 
He took the lead after four hours of running and didn’t look back as he bagged the first local victory for the race since Sipho Ngomane won in 2005.
 
“I’m very happy to have won, and to become the 2012 champion of this ultra-human race is surreal. It’s a dream come true,” a delighted, but tired Mamabolo said afterwards.
 
“I am just very grateful to be the first South African in seven years to win … It has pained me every day to look in the newspapers and see that no South African name was there … It was only the foreigners they were talking about that could win and have won in recent years … But today I am happy and this win is for everyone, the whole country.
 
Mamabolo’s race
Lebohang Monyele took the early lead in the 87th edition of the race, but was caught by fellow novice Gert Thys, the South African record holder in the standard marathon, shortly before the halfway mark.
 
He blew up spectacularly, however, after going through the halfway stage at Drummond with a lead of more than seven minutes over the other real contenders.
 
Mamabolo then made the race his own with 22km to go, from the bottom of Fields Hill, going on to finish comfortably ahead of another South African, Bongmusa Mthembu, who crossed the line in 5:32.42.
 
Five local athletes secured gold medals by finishing among the top 10.
 
“When I caught Muzhingi’s bunch, I sat with them for a while and was listening to the rhythm,” Mamabolo said.
 
“I thought to myself ‘this is my race’ and I began to feel confident because I was staying with them … When we reached the halfway stage and were going up the mountain, I saw that I was stronger than everybody, so I stayed with them until about 42 kilometres left and then went for it and it paid off.”
 
Nurgalieva’s seventh victory
Elena Nurgalieva secured her seventh victory in the women’s race, and her third in succession, despite the absence of twin sister Olesya, who skipped the race after giving birth to her first child.
 
Nurgalieva, who won in 6:07.12, brushed off challenges from other foreign athletes, including fellow Russian Natalia Volgina and British ultra-marathon specialist Eleanor Greenwood.
 
Having gone through the halfway stage with a narrow lead, Greenwood eventually fell back as Nurgalieva strengthened her decade-long grip on the race.
 
Greenwood held on to finish second in 6:08.24.
 
Kerry Koen was the first South African woman home, taking sixth position in 6:45:44, with three local athletes securing gold medals. – Sapa
-- Advert --
Sapa
Guest Author
[/td_block_text_with_title]
Advertisting

‘We’re satisfied with SA’s land reform policy’— US Ambassador

Top US official is lobbying multinational firms to invest in South Africa

Hosni Mubarak is dead, but the Egypt he built is...

Despite the efforts of the Arab Spring, Egypt is still led by a military dictatorship made in Mubarak’s image

Inside the Security Branch: Torture between brandy and boerewors

A former SB operative, Paul Erasmus, talks about the torture of a young trade unionist, Neil Aggett, and the machinations at John Vorster Square

Press Releases

Tourism can push Africa onto a new path – minister

The continent is fast becoming a dynamic sought-after tourist destination

South Africa’s education system is broken and unequal, and must be fixed without further delay

The Amnesty International report found that the South African government continues to miss its own education upgrading targets

Business travel industry generates billions

Meetings Africa is ready to take advantage of this lucrative opportunity

Conferences connect people to ideas

The World Expo and Meetings Africa are all about stimulating innovation – and income

SAB Zenzele Kabili B-BBEE share scheme

New scheme to be launched following the biggest B-BBEE FMCG payout in South Africa’s history

Digging deep

Automation is unstoppable, but if we're strategic about its implementation, it presents major opportunities

TFSAs are the gymnasts of the retirement savings world

The idea is to get South Africans to save, but it's best to do your research first to find out if a TFSA is really suited to your needs

Achieving the litmus test of social relevance

The HSS Awards honours scholarly works based on their social relevance and contribution to the humanities and social sciences