JOHANNESBURG – Former Comrades Marathon champion Charné Bosman believes a new women’s record will be set at this year’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
And she will not be surprised if a South African dipped under the 2hr 30min 20sec time set by Kenya’s Isabella Ochichi two years ago.
“I see there’s a lot of girls who have run 2.26 coming to compete. I really think they will set a new record,” says Bosman, who has taken up Elana Meyer’s Captains’ Challenge and will be running the race for a charitable course.
“I am running the Mandela Marathon next week as brand ambassador and will be going to Cape Town not really to compete but to raise funds for Forever Heroes, which is an organisation that helps underprivileged children to afford sports equipment.
“Of course, the Ethiopian girls will be the favourites while the defending champion (Tish Jones of the UK) won’t want to let go of her title easily.
“But I believe that our own girls have a good chance of winning,” she said in reference to last year’s third-place finisher Lebogang Phalula, Irvette van Zyl and Tanith Maxwell, who will be among those carrying the local flag among the women’s elite.
Van Zyl is the faster of the South Africans with her time of 2.31.26, while Phalula lags a bit far behind on 2.38.00 with Maxwell sandwiched between them with her 2.32.33.
While they are good times and close to the record, they look pretty slow in comparison to those of the international elite who will descend on the Mother City for the September 17 race.
Jones’ winning time of 2.33.56 from last year pales into insignificance when placed alongside those of the east African runners, who have confirmed their participation in the only African marathon to have the IAAF Gold Label status.
Kenya’s Agnes Jepkemboi Kiprop boasts a fast 2.23.54 while her compatriot Doris Chepkwemoi Changeywo has a 2.31.50.
Between them are Ethiopians Betelhem Moges (2.26.14) and Fantu Eticha (2.28.39), and Germany’s Lisa Hahner is on 2.28.39.
On a course like the Cape Town Marathon, those times and even better should be within reach, making for what promises to be an excitingly competitive race.
No wonder Bosman is in no doubt the record will fall. “The Cape Town Marathon is flat and with these very fast girls in the field, I am sure they will set a new record. And it would be nice if one of our girls won.
“The key for them will be to stick to their own race plan and not focus on the competition. We proved it at Comrades that we South Africans have what it takes when we beat the Russian girls. So, I do believe our girls have the beating of the Ethiopians. Yet with any race, it will depend on how things go on the day for them.”
Bosman herself, fresh from a Comrades run she was not pleased with, is not thinking of victory in Cape Town.
“I am going there not only to run for Forever Heroes, but also to help a few people achieve sub-three hour marathon goals. I will be happy if I run a 2.55. But Lebo and Irvette are in good form and I believe the race is pretty open, any of all those girls can win it.”
How South Africa would love to have one of their own winning the only continental Gold Label race!