DURBAN – Ethiopian Tekletsion Kassahun Tefera won the fifth edition of Nelson Mandela Day Marathon in 2:28:31 on Sunday.
The race started at Manaye Hall in Imbali (15km outside Pietermaritzburg) where the late former state president made his last public speech before being detained on 25 March 1961 at the All-in-Africa conference, and finished at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site, where he was arrested outside Howick on 5 August 1962.
Lyno Muchena of Phantane Club finished in second position in 2:28:36 and Tefera’s countryman Kebede Aberra Dinke clocked 2:28:44 to claim third.
Sikhumbuzo Seme who finished seventh, in 2:29:32, was the first South African to cross the finish line.
In the women’s category, Mamorallo Tjoka of Lesotho was the first over the line in 2:49:00, with Selam Abere Alebachew just two seconds behind her in 2:49:02 and Zimbabwe’s Loveness Madziva in third position with 2:58:57.
Charné Bosman of Nedbank Running Club AGN was the first South African woman to finish, in 3:09:02.
Bosman, who was number five in the women’s category, said this was one of the most difficult races she had ever taken part in.
“The race was tough. I’ve never ran a hilly course like this one before. But I’m glad I did it,” she said of her first race.
“It means a lot to me to be the first South African female to finish this iconic marathon. It took me back to this year’s Comrades,” said the 2016 Comrades Marathon winner.
The three-time SA marathon champion said the race which was started to honour the late former South African president, has a potential of growing bigger and better.
“It was such an honour and privilege to take part in this race. It’s been five years since it started, and I think it will grow bigger and will be one of the best races in the world”, she said.
The men’s 21km event was won by Jobo Khatoane of Lesotho in 1:05:20, with South African David Manja clocking the same time as him and Joel Mmone in third place with 1:06:31.
In the female division, Zimbabweans Betha Chikanga (1:18:29), Rudo Mhonderwa (1:18:37) and Ruthendo Nyahora (1:21:14) made up the top three.
The Nelson Mandela Day event is one of the Comrades Marathon qualifying races.