Cape Town – As thousands of runners dashed over the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon’s Green Point finish line yesterday, both out of breath and elated to have completed the 42.2km race, it was Kenya’s Edwin Koech, 32, who won the 2019 edition in two hours, nine minutes and 20 seconds.
His fellow Kenyan Celestine Chepchirchir, 24, beat her female competitors to smash the course record of Helalia Johannes, clocking in at two hours, 26 minutes and 44 seconds.
That is just under three minutes faster than the record set in 2018.
Koech was too strong for a stellar field that included Daniel Muteti, Mohamed Ziani and South Africa’s Elroy Galant, breaking away in the final kilometre.
Koech defeated Muteti,who was the official pacemaker, by five seconds.
Gelant, only in his second marathon, placed fourth in a time of two hours, 10 minutes and 31 seconds, also claiming the South African title.
Koech said: “The race was good, the course was not bad. I expected to win because I train well in Kenya so I came here to win.
“I want to congratulate the organisers and participants; this was a very good race and if they invite me again I would come back. When I get back to Kenya, I want to prepare to run another marathon later this year.”
In the female division, after Chepchirchir, Nurit Shimels Yimam was second with two hours, 27 minutes and 40 seconds and Gete Mindaye Tilahun came home in third with two hours, 28 minutes and 32 seconds.
An emotional Chepchirchir could barely speak from both exhaustion and excitement, but said: “I am happy because I’m the winner. The race was very tough, the wind made it challenging but I did it.”
While everyone may not have been in it to win it, they still had the time of their lives, giving it their best shot. Odwa Zinto, from the Khayelitsha Athletics Club competed in the 10km race, and while she did not win, she loved the experience.
“It was fun maybe I was a bit unfit but it was okay. At least I did it in less than an hour and a half. It’s always fun on the road, you gain new friends, new families and you get to be part of a whole new family. The highlight for me was finishing the race,” Zinto said.
Her friend Noluvuyo Mazana also from the Khayelitsha Athletics Club added: “I was so unfit, the race was a challenge but I did it.
“The experience was really nice, I made many friends here and that was the highlight for me.”
Teboho Noosi and Bianca Tarboton successfully defended their titles in the 2019 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon 22km Peace Trail Run.