Zimbabwean runners dominate Slave Route Challenge
CAPE TOWN – Zimbabwean athletes ruled the roost at the annual Slave Route Challenge on Sunday with runners from north of the border taking line honours in the Half Marathon.
More than ten thousand runners, competing in the 5 km, 10km and half marathon distances transformed the City Centre, Bo-Kaap and Green Point into a mass of colour and sound as athletes followed routes connecting points of significance and memorialisation regarding the Cape’s history of slavery.
Veteran Rabson Chigara and his Zimbabwean compatriot, Fortunate Chidzivo, stole the show with convincing victories which they hope will set them on the path to greater honours ahead, although windy conditions, which delayed the start of the race, resulted in slower times than might have been expected.
Kraaifontein-based Chigara, who has been troubled by a hamstring injury, retained his title, crossing the line in 1 hr 09 min 38 sec – three minutes outside his winning time last year. The Nedbank pair, Mthandazo Qhina and Amos Nyonga, kept Chigara company to the top of Longmarket Street in Bo-Kaap – the steepest hill in town – before Chigara and Nyonga broke clear in the second half.
The decisive moment came 5 km from the finish as Chigara surged clear to open a gap and race to victory. “It’s been a difficult start to the year,” admitted Chigara. “I’ve battled with my hamstring and could not stride out fully today. But I’m happy with the win.”
Chidzivo underlined her form by placing 10th overall in an impressive 1:16:38 – just days after her return from Zimbabwe, where she qualified to run the World Half Marathon Championships in Poland next month.
“I had hoped to run 1 hr 14 min today, but the wind and tough course made it difficult,” explained Chidzivo. “I’ll be going to Poland for the World Champs at the end of March, where I’m aiming at running a personal best - close to 1 hr 10 min.”
Chidzivo was in a class of her own yesterday, taking the lead from the start to cross the finish line on the Grand Parade 10 minutes clear of her Retail Langa teammate, Kelly Nel, with veteran Elme Middelmost third.
Central Athletics’ Carlo Flink and Boxer athlete Zintle Xiniwe took honours in the 10km race.
Slave Route Challenge Half Marathon
Men: 1 Rabson Chigara (Itheko) 1:19:38; 2 Amos Nyongo (Boxer WP) 1:10:06; 3 Mthandazo Qhina (Ned WP) 1:11:08; 4 Alantino Belillie (Sanlam) 1:13:06; 5 Mbogeni Ngxazozo (Rocky Road Runners CGA) 1:13:41
Masters: +40 yrs: 1 Chigara; 2 Qhina; 3 Ngxazoz; +50 yrs: 1 Andrew Cooper (Ned WP) 1:21:58; 2 John September (Itheko) 1:23:03; 3 Chris Magobotiti (Celtic) 1:39:46; +60 yrs: 1 Julian Paul (SANDF) 1:32:54; 2 Henry Cieverts (Top Form) 1:33:22; 3 Muhammed Kriel (O'draai) 1:38:33;
Women: 1 Fortunate Chidzivo (Retail Langa) 1:16:38; 2 Kelly Nel (Retail Langa) 1:26:54; 3 Elme Middelmost (B'fell) 1:29:55; 4 Miranda Dudley (Wild Runner) 1:33:17; 5 Linda Kinloch (M&R) 1:34:34
Masters: +40 yrs: 1 Middelmost; 2 Dudley; 3 Kinloch; +50 yrs: 1 Obertina Kanyongo (Ned WP) 1:37:33; 2 Gail Maharaj (SANDF) 1:53:41; 3 Monica Paterson (W Coast) 1:56:38; +60 yrs: 1 Olga Howard (Ned WP) 1:47:55; 2 Dawn Saunders (Held) 1:54:06; 3 Lyndsay Jackson (K-Way VOB) 2:05:47
Slave Route Challenge 10km
Men: 1 Carlo Flink (Itheko) 33:06; 2 Edward Jack (Itheko) 33:14; 3 Lukhanyo Nobakada (AAC) 34:00; 4 Sithembsio Mqhele (M&R WP) 34:19; 5 Jimmy Bonjesi (Itheko) 34:39
Women: 1 Zintle Xiniwe (Boxer WP) 39:31; 2 Nomvuyisi Seti (Retail Langa) 39:51; 3 Paige Mackenzie (Save Orion CGA) 40:40; 4 Kumantha Naidoo (tmp lic) 41:27; 5 Pamela Moyikwa (Retail Langa) 42:05