Irvette Van Zyl smashes 50km world record
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By Matshelane Mamabolo
GQBERHA - World Records tumbled in spectacular fashion this morning as South Africa's Irvette van Zyl and Ethiopia's Ketema Negasa broke barriers in the Nedbank Runified 50km race.
Van Zyl smashed the 50km world record in style when she won the women's race in an unofficial time of 3:04:23, cutting almost three minutes of the previous mark.
Negasa won the men's event in an unofficial time of 2:42:07 in a race ran at such a furious pace that the top six all dipped under Thompson Magawana's long-standing record of 2:43:20 from way back in 1988.
Jonas Makhele of Waterfall and Entsika's Ntsindiso Mphakathi finished second and third respectively while three time Comrades Marathon champion Bongmusa Mthembu was in fifth.
The excitement was in the women's race where Van Zyl surprised everyone.
The Nedbank runner went into the race as a pace-setter but decided to go all the way as 'I felt good'.
Fresh from running a fantastic PB six weeks ago in Sienna, Italy to earn herself a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, Van Zyl was supposed to play the pacing role along with her teammate Gerda Steyn.
But when Steyn pulled out at the 30km mark, Van Zyl kept going.
And while Kenya's Lillian Jepkorir made a concerted last ditch effort to catch up, she just could not catch up with the feisty South African who punched the air with joy as she approached th finish line.