Noosi, Tarboton triumph in Peace Trail
CAPE TOWN – Teboho Noosi and Bianca Tarboton opened the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon weekend with record-breaking performances in the Peace Trail 22km race over the slopes of Signal Hill and Lion’s Head in cloudy, calm conditions on Saturday.
Lesotho athlete, Noosi, who started life as a shepherd in the Lesotho highlands, has become one of his country’s leading distance athletes and has moved up a few gears since his entry to trail racing at the 2017 Peace Trail’s race. Noosi won that in record time of 1 hr 28 min 30 sec, but he made that look sluggish yesterday, with a pillar to post victory in 1:25:40, almost three minutes inside his previous mark.
Noosi has won several mountain races in the Drakensberg this year and earned an invitation to compete in one of the world’s best known trail races – the Sierra Zinal in Switzerland – where he excelled to place 9th against many of the world’s top athletes, just 7 minutes behind a record-breaking Kilian Jornet.
“I felt strong today, so I went out hard from the start,” said Noosi, who had already gained a minute lead over the following pack at the top of the first climb, just below the Kramat at 4km. “I did not see anyone else on the trail and enjoyed the run. My next big race is on the road, at the Soweto Marathon where I’m aiming for a podium finish.”
But 28-year-old office management student at CPUT, Siboniso Soldaka, made a fist of it, running the race of his life to finish just 35 seconds in arrears after closing a gap on his rival of 1 min 10 sec just 7 km from the finish, crossing the finish line opposite the Green Point Athletics Stadium, just 35 seconds behind Noosi. If it were not for a bad fall on the descent, leaving his thigh bleeding, the result could have been even closer.
“Last year I started too fast,” reflected Soldaka, whose time was also well within the record. “So I was more conservative today, staying in the following pack for the first half before breaking away and chasing the leader. But he was too strong on the day!”
Norwegian orienteering athlete, Borger Melsom, formed part of the chase group with Soldaka and Zimbabwean, Tranquil Gumbo, and had moved into second position after 8 km in the Glen. But Soldaka and Siviwe Nkombi climbed strongly and had moved into 2nd and 3rd respectively at Kloof Nek before the climb up Lion’s Head, positions they held to the finish.
Tarboton has taken trail running by storm this year, and the UCT Chemical Engineering student was again to the fore, immediately opening a gap on her closest rivals – Stellenbosch-based Landie Greyling and Vicky van der Merwe.
Regaining her form following injury, Greyling was less than two minutes behind as the runners reached the Glen after 8km, but Tarboton opened up in the second half to finish 9th overall in 1:45:31 – 30 seconds inside her own record last year and a full nine minutes ahead of Greyling in second.
“I felt stronger than I did last year,” reflected Tarboton. “I’ve really benefitted from being a part of the Run Project – it’s been a good year for me. But the pressure of my academic work makes it challenging at times. I have a huge project due in just before the Otter Trail race next month!”
Admire Rushika retained his 12km Peace Trail title, with Stellenbosch athlete, Lijan van Niekerk taking the honours in the women’s competition.
Sanlam 22km Peace Trail, Green Point
Men: 1 Teboho Noosi 1:25:40; 2 Siboniso Soldaka 1:26:15; 3 Siviwe Nkombi 1:30:52; 4 Gershwill Jacobs 1:32:35; 5 Borger Melsom 1:34:30; 6 Kholwane Gumbo 1:38:50; 7 Peter Tsawayo 1:45:12; 8 Nic Rupanga 1:45:15; 9 Terrence Mjekula 1:48:09; 10 Kennedy Sekhuthe 1:50:17
Veterans: 1 Rupanga; 2 Mjekula; 3 Christie Engelbrecht 1:59:33
Women: 1 Bianca Tarboton 1:45:31; 2 Landie Greyling 1:54:15; 3 Vicky van der Merwe 2:00:50; 4 Melissa da Silva Gouveia 2:09:29; 5 Mia Uys 2:10:36; 6 Anna Olivier 2:11:24; 7 Kristy Zeppe; 2:12:50; 8 Sibongile Thikisha 2:12:50; 9 Catherine Hamilton 2:19:14; 10 Suzette McIvor 2:20:07
Veterans: 1 Olivier; 2 Hamilton; 3 McIvor
Sanlam 12km Peace Trail, Green Point
Men: 1 Admire Rushika 50:01; 2 Pule Tjaoane 50:18; 3 Francois Maquassa 50:23; 4 Edwin Sesipi 54:09; 5 Steyn Viljoen 57:06
Women: 1 Lijan van Niekerk 1:04:05; 2 Maphuti Phaka 1:05:55; 3 Natalie Smit 1:13:12; 4 Anna Pearse 1:13:12; 5 Terry Deats 1:14:25