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Mokoka keeps 12km road title in South Africa
- Updated: May 16, 2016
South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka showed the international contingent and the top three from 2015, Emmanuel Bett, Daniel Salel and Timothy Toroitich, a clean pair of heals to win the 2016 FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN road race in Cape Town on Sunday.
Some 13 000 runners lined up in Milnerton for the second running of the event and as in 2015, conditions were near perfect with the temperature hovering around 12 degrees.
A frenetic start saw the first kilometre being covered in 2min 41sec. When the lead bunch of 15 athletes went through three kilometres in 8:17 it was clear that the chase for the world best time of 33:31 was on the cards. Defending champion
Bett of Kenya and countryman Salel, were driving the lead bus with Mokoka and Elroy Gelant in close attendance.
Both Gelant and Mokoka had made it very clear before the race that they were intent on making sure that the winner’s purse stayed on home soil.
The 5km mark was just inside the harbour area as the athletes turned off Marine Drive, passing in 13:55. Once in the harbour, it was Bett who started to turn the screws to try and shake off the South African challenge, with Salel on his shoulder.
But Mokoka, making his 12km race debut, and Gelant were having none of it and as the athletes hit 8km, Mokoka and Gelant made the break, with Salel the only athlete to follow the South Africans.
The 9km mark was reached in 25:11. Salel, Mokoka and Gelant turned into Bree Street simultaneously for the final kilometre. Gelant fell off the pace with 800m to go as Salel and Mokoka raced neck and neck to down to the line with Mokoka edging the Kenyan by one second, coming home in 33:34.
With that Mokoka shattered the previous record of Mathews ‘Loop ‘n Val’ Motshwarateu by 49sec and missed out on the World Best time of by a mere three seconds.
‘It was a hard race’, said Mokoka afterwards. ‘Salel pushed me right to the line but I’m happy that we won the race for South Africa. Elroy (Gelant) and I worked together and were talking to each other the whole way. So I’m happy we were able to work as a team.’ Mokoka had been adamant that South Africa has the ability to take the race to the Kenyans if they work as a team.
‘I wanted the win first,’ Mokoka went on to say after breaking the SA best time of Motshwarateu (34:23), ‘but the record is a big bonus.’ The bonus was worth an additional R10 000 to Mokoka over and above the R40 000 for first prize.
In the women’s race, Irvette Van Zyl was first across the line. Whilst most expected that, Van Zyl had been battling with the flu for close on a week and almost withdrew after 4km. ‘It was hard. I felt really bad and wanted to just stop.’
Van Zyl hung on though and despite feeling out of sorts went into the lead after 7km and was never headed.
‘When Lebogang Phalula went through the first 2km in six minutes I was hanging on as best I could. I do not know how I was able to just stick it out and am very surprised by the win.’
Van Zyl was originally planning on chasing the SA best time of Elana Meyer (38:39), but having just recovered from flu she set her sights on the win instead, crossing the finish line in 39:40.
Picture of Mokoka winning on Sunday courtesy of Tobias Ginsberg
1 Stephen Mokoka 33:34, 2 Daniel Salel 33:35, 3 Elroy Gelant 33:42, 4 Sibusiso Nzima 34:08, 5 Sibabalwe Gladwin Mzazi 34:09
1 Irvette van Zyl 39:40, 2 Lebo Phalula 40:10, 3 Rutendo Nyahora 40:31, 4 Lebogang Phalula 41:14, 5 Christine Kalmer 41:32