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Cape Town – Zimbabweans dominated the Cape Town Marathon on Sunday morning, with Gilbert Mutandiro and debutant Alicen Manake clinching the respective men's and women's titles.
The diminutive Mutandiro, who was fourth last year, was not entirely pleased with his winning time of two hours, 19 minutes, 16 seconds (2:19:16) in cold and wet conditions.
“It was tough. The wind made it impossible to get the 2:17 I had hoped for,” Mutandiro said.
The men's lead group, running conservatively to combat the poor conditions, went through halfway in 70 minutes.
“The early pace was quite slow but at 25km I decided to move,” Mutandiro said.
“Mike (Fokoroni) and a couple of guys came with me.
“After 35km I pushed again, but it was hard to the finish.”
South African Lungile Gongqa finished 30 metres adrift in 2:19:23 and Zimbabwean Fokoroni was third, nearly two minutes further back, in 2:21:04.
Mutandiro said he had used the race as part of his build-up to the Macau Marathon in China in December.
“I was training for the London Olympics but I picked up an injury, so I changed to the Cape Town Marathon,” he said.
“I will also enter the Two Oceans (56km ultra-marathon in April), so this is good preparation.”
Manake, running her first marathon, won comfortably in 2:51:36, having dominated the women's race from the start.
“I very pleased with the run, but I don't have plans to do another (marathon) at present,” Manake said.
Local athlete Nomvuyisi Seti was a little under five minutes behind at the finish, taking second place in 2:56:31, with fellow South African Cary Ann Smith taking third in a personal best of 2:57:37.
Only 36 seconds separated the top five runners in the men's 10km race, which was won by Xolisa Tyali in 29 minutes, 40 seconds (29:40).
Tyali edged out Sibusiso Madikizela by seven seconds.
Nolene Conrad crossed the line first in the women's race in 34:31, easily holding off Namibian Lavina Haltope to win by 41
seconds. – Sapa