Cape Town - Zimbabwean runners reigned supreme in the half marathon of the TotalSports Two Oceans Marathon this morning, with debutant Moses Tarinyiku triumphant in a three-way sprint finish while Fortunate Chidzivo won the women's race at a canter.
Tarinyiku, in the colours of Nedbank Running Club, kept up with the lead bunch throughout and beat defending champion Elroy Gelant into second place, his winning time of 63:31 a mere two seconds ahead of the Boxer Athletics star.
Desmond Mokgobu of Enttsika AC came in third place, having lost out to Gelant in the last 20 meters.
"I am very happy with this first place," Tarinyiku said at the finish "it is my first time to take part in the Two Oceans. I struggled a bit from the 17km and I kept looking at where Elroy was "
Gelant was by his side all along, the holder having dictated the pace for most of the race in a big leading bunch that had all the potential winners.
But as the race progressed, the bunch that initially had about 20 runners was whittled down when the leaders made a surge.
The likes of Thang Mosiako and Collin Mulaudzi had looked likely to challenge but fell by the wayside.
At the end there were just four runners left in the final kilometre and the sure bet appeared to be on Gelant to win the sprint finish given his track experience.
But Mokgobu went ahead first only to be quickly reeled back in, with Tarinyiku content to just hold on.
But as they entered the UCT campus, the Zimbabwean went for it and try as they did to catch up with him, both Gelantt and Mokgobu just couldn't overtake the delighted winner.
Mokgobu, having already won two half marathons this year, got on the grass ahead of Gelant but continuously looked back at Gelantt who easily overhauled him, beating him by a second.
The women's race was literally a no contest very early on with Chidzivo running all by herself for most of the race.
The Retail Capital Langa athlete's delight knew no bounds as she approached the finish line punching the air in celebration of a victory she'd been chasing for long.
"I had stomach cramps and was vomiting last night so to be able to win this is such a pleasure. This is a dream come true. Every year my wish has always been about stenting on that top podium."
And she did courtesy of her 74:49 time, a good 25 seconds ahead of second placed Kore Tamiru Gelaye of Nedbank Ethiopia. Caroline Mhandu of Maxed Elite enquired Zimbabwe had two runners in the top three, coming in at 65:30.
Laura Labuachagne was the first South African home in fourth place with a time of 65:49.