Ethiopia’s Daniel Derese romped home in 2:15:46 seconds to claim the revived Durban City Marathon in hot and humid condition on Sunday.
Derese was followed home by Tsepo Ramonene in 2:16:35 and Munyaradzi Jair in 2:19:35.
The women’s race was won by Thabita Tsatsa in a time of 2:50:45 who came in more than two minutes faster than Moleboheng Mafata 2:53:15 and Alemtsehay Kakissa in 2:53:45.
In the 10km event Steven Mokoka and Gladwin Mzazi went off on a record pace, with Mokoka breaking away in the last kilometre to break the tape with a time of 28:33. In the process he equaled the KZN record and ended just shy of his personal best time of 28:12. Mzazi came in second at 28:44 and he was followed by Sibusiso Nzima at 28:55.
The Phalula sisters, Lebogang and Diana, kept it in the family by clinching 1st and 2nd spots in a classy field with a time of 33:50 and 33:55 respectively. Rene Kalmer came in a minute later in a time of 34:57
The 10km had a strong presence from juniors from all districts of KwaZulu-Natal.
The marathon saw the front runners take an easy pace but with humidity and heat quickly taking their toll on the leading bunch, a group of five runners broke away at 33km mark. Derese then pulled away from the pack to claim the fastest marathon run in the province since Zithulele Sinqe won the event, all be in on a different route, 27 years ago in 2h10minutes.
The revived Durban City Marathon showed it was still a popular race with the demand far outstripping the number of places available, resulting in organizers, KZN Athletics, having to cap the numbers at 1,400 and 1,200 runners for the marathon and 10Km respectively.
“We chose to concentrate on quality rather than quantity in providing excellent runner service. This bore fruit almost immediately with runner feedback indicating the event to be one of the most runner friendly and well organized road running event in South Africa,” said Race Director Dees Govender.
“The event was international with most African nations represented, at the same time assembling the best road runners in South Africa under the starter’s gun in decades. This inevitably resulted in excellent times.”
South African marathon record holder Gert Thys commended the event and it should be a regular feature on the calendar. He said he would like to see the 10km being run a day before the marathon.
“I believe the event stay in the first half of the year, but be moved to late April to avoid humidity and heat and secondly that the twists and turns in the harbour section be eliminated from the course to achieve a faster time,” he said at a post-race feedback session.
Govender said the runners’ feedback would be used to stage an even bigger and better marathon next year.