Olympic marathoner Lungile Gongqa took a comfortable win in the 2017 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, crossing the finish line in 03:09:43 and becoming the first Capetonian since 1973 to take the Ultra title.
Gongqa, running his first Ultra Marathon in Nedbank colours, was part of the lead bunch from the start, but broke away after the 47km mark – and again at 52km – to ultimately outpace Maxed Elite Lesotho athletes Warinyane Lebopo (2nd in 03:10:21) and Teboho Sello (3rd in 03:11:48) to the finish line.
In the women’s race, Belarusian Maryna Damantsevich had a convincing lead by the half marathon mark, and set the pace early on after a mishap at the start convinced her she had fallen behind. She finished her race with a 10-minute lead.
“Someone bumped into me at the start and I fell a few times. I thought I was in second place, but couldn’t find the woman in front of me, so I ran faster to catch up,” Damantsevich explained via coach Anatoliy Bychkov.
“I am very happy about my win, and I loved everything about the race.”
Jenna Challenor had a strong maiden Ultra, and finished second in a time of 03:47:32. Tanith Maxwell followed in third place, finishing in 03:55:42.
The women’s race was left wide open after a hamstring injury brought defending champ Caroline Wöstmann’s race to an abrupt end at the 11km mark.
In the Half Marathon men’s race, Namakoe Nkhasi successfully defended his title and set a new OMTOM Half Marathon course record in a time of 01:03:15, beating Khoarahlane Seutlaoli (1:03:45) in second place, and David Manja (1:04:19) in third place.
In the women’s race, Irvette van Zyl reclaimed her Half Marathon title in a time of 01:13:53. Nolene Conrad arrived at the finish line about 30 seconds later finishing in second place (01:14:27), while Louisa Leballo came third (01:15:00).
“This is a very special race, despite the tough conditions” said Van Zyl. “The wind provided quite a challenge, but I am so happy to come back and take the win.”