Mazibuko wins Soweto | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mazibuko wins Soweto

South Africa’s Michael Mazibuko wrested control of the Soweto Marathon back from Lesotho on Sunday, writes Mark Etheridge.

But the women’s title stayed in foreign control as Mamorallo Tjoka defended her title in style.

Mazibuko, running for the Toyota Running Club, clocked 2hr 19min 04sec to keep the Lesotho challenge at bay with Moeketsi Mosuhli chasing hard at the death but ending second in 2:19:04.

Last year’s winner, Lebenya Nkoka was third in 2:19:34, 10 seconds quicker than his time last year.

The women’s race had seen much interest in the standard marathon debut of national half-marathon champion Irvette van Blerk who is targeting a possible spot on Team SA at next year’s London Olympics.

But a frenetic start saw the Nedbank runner taking a nasty tumble, as bad luck would have it, on the knee that had been niggling her in the build-up to the race. She also took a bang to the head. Despite her getting up and pushing on bravely her knee had the final say and started protesting at 25km. She held out until 38km before calling it quits for now.

Meanwhile up front Tjoka’s early pace looked to have taken its toll and she was passed by Sharon Tavenga of Zimbabwe in the last quarter. But she dug deep to hit the front again and went on to win in a race record 2:43:40. Last year she clocked 2:48:36. The previous race record belonged to Van Blerk’s training partner Irvette van Blerk and stood at 2:43:54 after Kalmer had made her marathon debut two years ago.

Runner-up, and like Van Blerk, also the victim of an early fall, was British veteran Emma Gooderham in 2:43:57.