DURBAN – The Down Run defending champions Charne Bosman and David Gatebe were more than happy to cede their titles to fellow South African athletes in yesterday’s Comrades Marathon.
The duo failed to defend their titles and were unable to claim podium finishes. Bosman was the hot favourite to retain the title she clinched in the 2016 Down Run but finished fifth, while Gatebe, who smashed the Down record two years ago was rewarded with an eighth spot for his efforts.
Massmart Athletic Club athlete Ann Ashworth surprised herself as she earned her maiden triumph in the women’s category while Bongmusa Mthembu reigned supreme in the men’s category.
The Bulwer born athlete won back-to-back Comrades as he reached Moses Mabhida Stadium comfortably ahead of the chasers.
Speaking after the race Bosman was happy that the title will remain in South Africa.
“I gave it my best. I felt great at the beginning and at around 42 to 43 km I could feel that my legs were a little bit stiff. The last 20 km, I just hung in there. I just gave my best and I wanted to finish the race.
I’m very happy, fifth place is still great for me. I got my 5th gold, so I’m going to get my green number and that’s the bonus for me. I’m glad for Ann because she is a South African and the fact that the second lady is also from South Africa (Gertha Steyn) is a bonus,” an exhausted Bosman explained.
“I’m delighted that the title was won by a South African,” said Gatebe.