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Two Oceans title goes to Lesotho but glory for SA’s Wöstmann
- Updated: April 4, 2015
The tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho produced not one, but two podium places in Saturday’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, when Motlokoa Nkhabutlane and Moeketsi Mosuhli clinched first and third place respectively.
Nkhabutlane made his break at the top of Southern Cross Drive and took a convincing win in 3hr 10min 27sec. He was followed by Collen Makaza from Zimbabwe, who finished in a time of 3:12:41, and Mosuhli, who reached the finish line a minute later, reports Sport24
The 30-year-old winner, who was initially worried about being caught by the chasing bunch after his breakaway, said that the Lesotho team’s strong focus on group training played a major role in his and Mosuhli’s performance.
The biggest surprise of the day, however, came in the form of Caroline Wöstmann, who took the top stop in the women’s race – making her the first South African woman to win since Gwen van Lingen in 2001.
Wöstmann, running in Nedbank colours, finished in a time of 3:41:23 – 70 minutes faster than her 2014 time – with Russian defending champ Nina Podnebesnova in second place (03:44:04) and ‘dark horse’ Tanith Maxwell finishing third (3:45:18) in her debut ultra.
“I felt fantastic and had a great race today,’ Wöstmann said, recounting how she inched her way to the front of the pack until she finally passed Podnebesnova in the final five kilometres, who had maintained a strong lead until that point.
In the half-marathon, Stephen Mokoka successfully defended his title in a sprint finish. He crossed the finish line in a time of 1:04:00, 16 seconds faster than in 2014. Boxer Superstores athlete Elroy Gelant came second (1:04:04), with Joel Mmone finishing in third place (1:04:05).
The Phalula twins dominated the women’s race, with Lebogang crossing the finish line in 1:14:48 and her sister, Diana (defending her 2014 title) finishing in third place (1:15:31). Mapaseka Makhanya came second, in a time of 01:15:08.
The early morning dawned to perfect weather as a sold-out field of athletes lined up for their start in Newlands. Conditions soon turned wet and chilly when the rain came down just after 7am.
‘We were grateful for the rain, as it made for a pleasantly cool day on the road and helped to settle the ash along the Ultra route,’ says Carol Vosloo, general manager of the Two Oceans Marathon NPC.
‘It was once again humbling to see how runners and spectators embraced the spirit of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon. Despite having had to change the Ultra route so close to race day, participants remained positive and celebrated an amazing day of running.’
Title Sponsor Old Mutual had originally offered a R1 million prize to the male and female runner to break the ultra marathon records. But as Easter Saturday once again draws to a close, the 1988 and 1989 records established by Thompson Magawana (3:03:44) and Frith van der Merwe (3:30:36) respectively, remain in place for another year.
1st: Motlokoa Nkhabutlane (Lesotho) (3:10:27)
2nd: Collen Makaza (Zimbabwe) (3:12:41)
3rd: Moeketsi Mosuhli (Lesotho – Maxed Elite) (3:13:44)
1st: Caroline Wöstmann (Nedbank) (3:41:23)
2nd: Nina Podnebesnova (Russia) (3:44:04)
3rd: Tanith Maxwell (Boxer Superstores) (3:45:18)
1st: Stephen Lesego Mokoka (Transnet) (1:04:00)
2nd: Elroy Gelant (Boxer Superstores) (1:04:04)
3rd: Joel Mmone (Nedbank) (1:04:05)
1st: Lebogang Phalula (Boxer Superstores) (1:14:48)
2nd: Mapaseka Makhanya (Boxer Superstores) (1:15:08)
3rd: Diana Lebo Phalula (Maxed Elite) (1:15:31)