Alfred Ngeno crosses the finish line to win the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN. Photo: Tobias Ginsberg

JOHANNESBURG – The city's gloomy and cool morning, was perfect for running yesterday. So it was not surprising that Alfred Ngeno lived up to his pre-race promise that he would dominate the FNB Joburg 10k CITYRUN course.

But the Kenyan went beyond his promise as he smashed the course record of the popular race that attracted 15 000 runners.

Ngeno ran home in 29:16, some 11 seconds faster than the previous record that was set by Eritrea’s Filman Ande last year.

The Ethiopian won by the skin of his teeth as he beat Kevin Kibet by a second after dipping in the finish line at the Mary Fitzgerald Square.

“I am happy to have won here today,” said Ngeno. “The climb from 4km to 7km was tough, but I felt really good on the downhill to the finish. I was hoping to break Kevin earlier and not have to sprint for the finish. But I came here for the win and I got it. The course record is a big bonus for me.”

Typically fast as it attracts a strong field of both local and international runners, the CITYRUN once again lived up to its billing with the elite athletes flying off at the gun from the heart of the city.

Ngeno, Kibet and local favourite Elroy Gelant set the pace with former winner Namakoe Nkasi and Joel Mmone as well as Junior Albert Tonui hot on their heels.

Soon though it was only Gelant and Tonui who kept up with the leading pair as the race reached the halfway mark.

The South African though had just run the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and was left behind as the leaders surged further ahead with Tonui also failing to keep up. Still Gelant was good for a third place in 29:38.

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“The wind did bother me a bit from 6km onwards, especially as I was running alone. But I am really excited, especially so close to my marathon. I now have three weeks till the FNB Durban 10K CITRYSURFRUN. I want to break 28 minutes there. So this result, my best ever on this course, makes me excited.”

The women’s course record barely survived as Ethiopian Tadu Nare missed Irvette van Zyl’s mark by a second as she came in at 33.53 as she beat race favourite Mary Nyaruai Ekiru by a massive 13 seconds. Comrades Marathon champion Gerda Steyn was third after clocking 34:31.

“I am ecstatic. My year is really going so well,” said Steyn. “I pretty much ran my own race from the gun as Tadu and Mary shot away from us at the start.

But I am really happy.”

Matshelane Mamabolo

@Tshiliboy

 

The Star

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