CAPE TOWN – Childhood friends and long-time racing rivals, Lindikhaya Mthangayi and Lungile Gongqa, made yesterday’s Cape Peninsula Marathon their own in an impressive display of distance running along the traditional route between Green Point and Simon’s Town.
The two 39-year-olds, who grew up near each other in the former Transkei, matched each other stride for stride throughout the 42.2km race until the taller Mthangayi broke clear on the final ascent just 400m from the finish at the Naval Sports Fields to take the title from last year’s winner, Gongqa.
Running into a stiff southeaster throughout the race, Mthangayi’s winning time of 2hrs 27min 01sec was impressive, six minutes slower than Gongqa’s winning time last year in perfect, calm conditions, and just 21 seconds clear of his rival.
Mthandazo Qhina made it a clean-sweep for Nedbank athletes, taking third in 2:30:44, just 24 seconds clear of Hout Bay athlete, Anda Lubelwana.
After passing half way at Bergvliet in a seven-strong pack in 1:10:00, Mthangayi and Gongqa made their move after 27km, quickly opening a gap on their rivals and underlining their class as world-class distance athletes.
Green and gold are colours closely linked to excellence in sport in South Africa, and these were the colours of yesterday’s race. While green swept the podium in the men’s race, it was the gold-yellow colours of Murray and Roberts who athletes took total control in the women’s race with Durban athlete Jenna Challenor supreme in a superb come-back race.
After an injury plagued 2018, Challenor showed she means business on the run-in to the Tokyo Olympics next year, racing clear from the start to win in 2:46:05 - seven minutes faster than Ulrica Stander’s winning time last year and eight minutes clear of her new clubmate, Pretoria’s Charne Bosman, in second.
“It was a tough run,” admitted Mthangayi. “Lungile is a great athlete and we ran well together. It was only at the end that I was able to break him.
Phew - the wind was strong out there today, but it was really just a training run for me, so perhaps the wind made it a better session! Two Oceans is my big goal for the year.”
Challenor was also well-pleased with her outing. “It’s good to be back running well again,” the Durban athlete admitted. “I lost my dad last year - he was my absolute hero. I was running for him today and had a blue ribbon to remember him with. I think that gave me extra strength. I’m looking forward to (the) Two Oceans and perhaps Comrades this year, and then we’ll see about the Olympics!”
Sibusiso Madikizela retained his title in the half marathon, winning in 1:07:24, with Fortunate Chidzivo pocketing another title, winning the women’s race in 1:18:38.
Cape Peninsula Marathon 42km, Green Point to Simon’s Town results:
Men: 1 Lindikhaya Mthangayi (Ned WP) 2:27:01; 2 Lungile Gongqa (Ned WP) 2:27:23; 3 Mthandazo Qhina (Ned WP) 2:30:44; 4 Anda Lubelwana (M&R) 2:31:08; 5 Blessing Makanga (Easterns) 2:33:44
Women: 1 Jenna Challenor (M&R KZN) 2:46:05; 2 Charne Bosman (M&R AGN) 2:54:22; 3 Kerry-Ann Marshall (M&R WP) 2:54:55; 4 Mia Morrison (M&R CG) 2:55:24; 5 Janie Grundlingh (M&R KZN) 2:55:41