CAPE TOWN – Thirty-one-year old Kraaifontein-based athlete, Fortunate Chidzivo, created history at the Bay to Bay 30km road race at Camps Bay yesterday, erasing a record which had stood for 32 years in racing to an impressive 1hr 52min 59sec victory.
The Zimbabwe-born Chidzivo, running in the colours of the Retail Langa Athletics Club, improved four-time Two Oceans champion, Monica Drogemoller’s 1987 Bay to Bay mark by just two seconds in finishing with the 16th fastest time run for the distance in South Africa.
But last year’s decision by the organisers to improve race logistics by moving the start from Kloof Road to Camps Bay High meant that Chidzivo was robbed of the opportunity to record the fastest official 30km ever run in SA.
In spite of two significant climbs up Suikerbossie Hill, the current Bay to Bay 30km is now listed as an “aided” course, the difference of 45,9m from start to finish (at the Glen Country Club) exceeding the maximum limit of 1m per kilometre (30m in the case of Bay to Bay) to ensure IAAF record certification.
This leaves Drogemoller’s name intact as officially the fastest over the distance.
More than 6 000 runners completed the 30km and 15km races in cool conditions, run on the traditional out and back course between Camps Bay and Hout Bay.
Chidzivo partly owes her record performance to the early pace set by Nedbank athlete, Annie Bothma, who enjoyed a 30-second lead over Chidzivo on the outward leg at the top of Suikerbossie after nine kilometres. But the recurrence of an old hip injury slowed her progress, allowing Chidzivo to take the lead after 13km, with Bothma being forced to retire 18km into the race.
“I felt strong today, but had no knowledge of the race record,” Chidzivo admitted.
“Annie helped with going out at a fast pace, but I still felt in control and only really opened up over the final stages. I knew that Nolene (Conrad - running in the 15km race from Hout Bay) would be trying to close the gap so I accelerated to keep her behind me!”
Veteran runner, Ulrica Stander, second behind Chidzivo in 2:03:00, ran impressively, finishing just 12 seconds outside Nancy Will’s 24-year-old Western Province mark in the 40-year masters category.
Strong-running Lindikhaya Mthangayi gave notice of his 2019 Two Oceans aspirations, with an impressive 1:38:26 overall victory, having broken from the lead group, which included his Itheko teammate, Rabson Chigara, and Nedbank’s Mthandazo Qhina, at the turn at 15km near the World of Birds and holding off Chigara by just over a minute to clinch the win.
Vuyolwethu Mbukushe and Conrad were the respective winners of the 15km race.
Itheko clinched the 30km team prize with all four runners in the top-10 places, with K-Way VOB coming out on top in the women’s category.