Lesotho's Mabothile Lebopo and Namibian Beata Naigambo outran a quality field of southern African athletes to each win R100 000 in Monday's Nedbank Durban City Marathon.
Lebopo fought off a bout of cramps 33km into the race before catching South Africa's Cool Boy Ngamole who at 35km looked set to win his debut marathon. Ngamole, who is better known for his exploits over 10km, led the field from 27km before diminutive Lebopo overhauled him at Durban's Point waterfront.
Although being chased by Moses Mosuhli, Lebopo managed to maintain the lead to finish in a fast 2hr 13mins 52sec leaving his fellow Lesotho athlete 11 seconds adrift. Ngamole was the first South African in 2:15:08. As the first member of a provincial team, North West North's Dave Gadebe, who finished fourth, won the SA championship title in 2:15:30.
With 5km remaining in the women's race everything pointed to Moamorallo Tjoka making it a Lesotho double, but as she closed in on the finish it was Namibian Beata Naigambo who became stronger with her kick just after Snake Park putting her 54 seconds clear of Tjoka at the finish line. Naigambo's 2:38:44 was a personal best by almost four minutes. South African Charne Bosman was third to earn the SA Championship title in 2:42:28.
Grace de Oliveira provided the top performance for the KwaZulu-Natal team when she finished 13th in 2:59:32, which gave her Silver in her 40-49 age category.
The 46-year-old multiple Comrades gold medallist provided the foundation for the province to win the 40 plus team competition well clear of Western Province and Central Gauteng.
In an impressive performance 51-year-old Judith Geldenhuis, who earned the Bronze in her category, was the third and closing member of the team in 3:22:16.
The senior men, led by Sandile Makhanya, won the province's only other medals, taking bronze behind Gauteng North and Central Gauteng.