Ethiopians Dominate The 2017 Cape Town Marathon!

Penelope Cairns |

Asefa Mengstu Negewo successfully defended his Sanlam Cape Town Marathon title, destroying a quality field to cross the line in 2:10.01.

Asefa Negewo (Ethiopia) winning the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in 2:10.01. Image from CT Marathon Facebook Page.
Asefa Negewo (Ethiopia) winning the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in 2:10.01. Image from CT Marathon Facebook Page.

On Sunday morning, thousands of runners took on the IAAF Gold Label 42.2km Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. The weather was perfect, with almost no wind and the trophy was up for grabs by the strong elite field.

Running in a lead pack of six athletes that included Ketema Bekele Negasa, race favourite Laban Mutai, Duncan Maiyo and South Africa’s Xolisa Tyali, Negewu went through 10km in 30:18, some 13 seconds behind pace maker Henry Kiplagat.

Kiplagat proceeded to pour on the pace and by halfway had extended his lead to 34 seconds over the chasing pack. Kiplagat went through to the half marathon mark in 1:04.29 with the pack clocking 1:05.03.

The @ctmarathon elite men going through the halfway mark at the Rondebosch Common. That pace is ?. #ctmarathon #capetown #halfway #elite

A post shared by Runner’s World South Africa (@runnersworldza) on

By 30km, the pack was chasing down Kiplagat and had whittled his lead down to nine seconds with Negewo driving the bus. At 35km, Negewo threw down the gauntlet and pulled away from his rivals to cross the line in 2:10.01.

By defending his title, Ethiopian Asefa Negewo has confirmed his status as one of the foremost athletes in the world. Negewo finished in 2:10.01, followed by Ethiopian Ketema Negasa (2:11.06) and Kenyan Duncan Maiyo (2:11.26) taking second and third respectively.

“Defending my title was important to me. I am really happy to be able to defend my title as this race put me on the map”, said Negewo.

“I was hoping for a faster time, I wanted to break my course record (2:08.42) but there was a bit of wind between 11 and 18 kilometres which slowed us down, and the guys didn’t want to work together. So if things go well I would like to come back next year and try and win the race for the third time and break my course record.”

The first South African man home was Elroy Gelant, who finished fifth in 2:12:49. Gelant, in his debut marathon, was the best of the South Africans. Running a conservative race, Gelant stayed off the leaders until the 30km mark before he tried to close the gap. In the end though running in man’s land for a longer period of time cost him and slowed down in the latter stages of the race. Nevertheless his 2:12.49 was good enough for fifth overall.

The women’s race saw some drama as pace maker Helalia Johannes went out at a blistering pace, dropping the main protagonists by the halfway mark, reached in 1:15.22. Strung out behind her were all the race favourites some 38 seconds adrift. Running comfortably in that chase pack were Meserey Asefan, Betelhem Moges, Fantu Jimma and Agnes Kiprop amongst others.

South Africa’s Irvette van Zyl, content to sit roughly a minute further down. By 35km it was clear that, pacemaking duties fulfilled, Helalia Johannes was going for the win and when she saw the finish line two kilometres out, she must have thought that the win was hers. But literally within less than a kilometre to go, she was caught by Betelhem Moges who went on to win in 2:30.22, Johannes coming through 6 seconds adrift (2:30.28) and Agnes Kiprop third in 2:31.00.

“I was looking for 2:27 or faster, but the pace between and 10km and 25km was a bit slow, so I lost some time there”, said Moges. When asked if she was worried about the pace maker being so far ahead, Moges was a bit surprised that Johannes had stayed in the race for so long. “I was expecting her to pull out and was not aware that she was so far ahead, so I was surprised when I saw her in front of me. But I saw she was struggling and so I surged and caught her.”

The first South African lady home was Irvette Van Zyl who finished ninth in 2:36:46.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is the only IAAF Gold Label Marathon in Africa and attracts over 10,000 entrants, growing by the year. It has now established itself as the premier Marathon on the continent.

Precious Mashele takes the 10km win. Image from the Cape Town Marathon Facebook Page.

In the 10km Peace Run, SA Cross Country Champion, Lesiba Precious Mashele broke away from the pack in the final kilometre and continued his good form claiming the Sanlam 10km Peace Run in 00:28:32. The women’s race saw the favourite, Glenrose Xaba, dominate from start to finish. Xaba, who was also crowned SA Cross Country Champion in both the 4km and 10km races in Potchefstroom on Saturday 9 September, led from the gun and was never headed. Xaba clocked a personal best time of 33:24 when she came over the line on A-Track in Green Point.

Cape Town’s Mayor Patricia de Lille took on the challenge this year and took part in the 10km.

Great to see Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille finishing the 10k with rugby legend Eddie Andrews #CTmarathon #capetown — Runner’s World SA (@runnersworldza) September 17, 2017

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