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Maxed Elite end their eight year Two Oceans drought

Edndale Belachew wins the Mens Ultra Marathon race during the 2022 Two Oceans Marathon finish line at UCT Green Mile in Cape Town on Sunday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Edndale Belachew wins the Mens Ultra Marathon race during the 2022 Two Oceans Marathon finish line at UCT Green Mile in Cape Town on Sunday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Apr 17, 2022

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Cape Town — Ethiopian marathon runner Edndale Belachew had no idea that Anele Dlamini was ahead of him in Sunday's TotalSports Two Oceans Marathon.

The ultra marathon debutant, who reigned supreme in a time of 3:09.05, said he was surprised to see Dlamini in front of him when he caught up with the Phantane Athletics runner, who eventually didn't finish the race.

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“I found him at around 47km and I thought he just came from among the spectators to join the race,“ the Maxed Elite Running Club athlete said to roars of laughter from the media at the post race conference.

Dlamini had led from the start with a blistering pace that would probably have had some thinking he was a pace-setter given that he blitzed past the 10km mark in just under 29 minutes and got to the half marathon in an hour and three minutes.

But once he caught up with the Phantane athlete, Belachew never looked back, although he needed to produce a fantastic sprint on the grass at the finish line to beat Hollywood Bets' Nkosikhona Mhlakwana - who was also running Two Oceans for the first time.

Belachew boasts a 2:11 marathon PB and Maxed Elite Club manager Martin Ngwenya had said that he expected his runner to do well, should he be able to keep up with the front runners until the 42.2km mark.

ALSO READ: Gerda Steyn runs magic race to seal record breaking TotalSports Two Oceans Marathon win

Ngwenya could not hide his delight at Balachew's victory, which ended the club's eight year drought at the race.

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“The last time we win this race was back in 2014 with Lebenya Nkoka. So you can imagine just how happy we are now that Belachew has won it for us. He is a fantastic marathoner but he proved that he can also go the longer distance and succeed.”

Ngwenya disclosed that he plans to have the Ethiopian come back to South Africa later in the year to run the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.

ALSO READ: Gerda Steyn donates some of her winnings towards athlete development

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That would be super news for the athlete who said he found South Africa not only beautiful but hospitable as well.

“The scenery here is very beautiful l, I really liked it. And I was very happy with the support that the people gave me on the road.”

Having missed out on competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the previous two years, Belachew was “happy to get the opportunity to race”. And he grabbed it, alright.

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“This win is very special for me because I won at my first attempt of running in South Africa. And also, it is my first time ever racing in an ultra marathon. So to win was great.”

Incredibly, Belachew said he didn't overexert himself.

“I felt this was going to be my day and I was not pushing myself too hard all the way. But it was a great race and the finish was very competitive,” he said in reference to him and Mhlakwana fighting it out for first place at the end.

The Ethiopian breasted the tape in a time of 3:09.05, with the local man following in three seconds later. Phantane Athletics Club's Siboniso Silhakhane completed the podium standings in 3:11.00.

Defending champion Bongmusa Mthembu took fourth place, the Arthur Ford superstar crossing the line in 3:12:06.

The race belonged to Maxed Elite though, with Belachew ensuring that the red and white outfit get to celebrate once again, almost a decade since they last reigned supreme at this iconic race.

@Tshiliboy

IOL Sport

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