Jimmy Bonjesi raced to his first marathon title with a convincing victory in the inaugural Hemel en Aarde Marathon
Brimstone Itheko veteran, Jimmy Bonjesi, raced to his first marathon title with a convincing victory in the inaugural Hemel en Aarde Marathon, run between Caledon and Hermanus over the weekend while Dutch import Nienke Pannekoek took the honours in the women’s competition.
The field of 1500 enjoyed the wind at their backs and a downhill course through farmlands including the fastest-growing wine route in the country.
Bonjesi ran with Nedbank athlete, Siyabonga Sakwe for the first 30 km before opening up on a flat section where he broke clear of his rival to win by just over three minutes in 2 hr 28 min 52 sec. Interestingly both athletes completed the Peninsula Marathon last week, finishing within seconds of each other in 7 th and 9 th positions in 2 hr 34 min.
“Phew it was a tough race,” Bonjesi admitted. “Although it was downhill, there were many climbs. But I felt good and it was a perfect training run to prepare for Two Oceans.”
Pannekoek was delighted with her win in her best-ever time of 3:07:02 - four minutes faster than her winning time at the Red Hill Marathon last month. Just three years after taking up running as a serious pastime, the Dutch neuro-scientist is making her presence felt in Cape Town road running circles.
“I had no interest in running in Holland,” Pannekoek said. “I met my fiancée who was in the surfing business in Cape Town and I moved here just over three years ago.
“Nothing compares to Cape Town - the running routes here are spectacular and I’ve really enjoyed running with the Atlantic Club runners. I’m aiming at a good Two Oceans Marathon in around 4 hrs 30 min.”
Pannekoek started conservatively, allowing Nedbank’s Tanith Maxwell to take the lead from the start.
Maxwell dropped out at half way, leaving Murray and Roberts’ Linda Kinloch in pole position until Pannekoek overhauled her at 25 km to race to an impressive victory.
Wildrunner’s Katherine Angel finished strongly to take second position in 3:08:34 with Nedabnk’s Madele du Plessis close behind in third.
Men: 1 Jimmy Bonjesi ( Itheko) 2:28:52; 2 Siyabonga Sakwe ( Ned WP) 2:32:10; 3 Luca Boyana (W Coast) 2:37:05; 4 Will Robinson (Harf Har) 2:38:15; 5 Richard Flint (Harf Har) 2:41:19
Women: 1 Nienke Pannekoek (AAC) 3:07:02; 2 Katherine Antel (Wildrunner) 3:08:34; 3 Madele du Plessis ( Ned WP) 3:09:05; 4 Michelle van Zyl (Wildrunner) 3:10:54; 5 Linda Kinloch ( M&R) 3:12:11