Chabeli Nyedimane and Paulina Njeya were in a class of their own in the respective senior men and women half marathon (21,1km) race at the Round Naval Hill meeting, staged by Nedbank Bloemfontein Achilles on Saturday.
Nyedimane is slowly but surely regaining the form which saw him as a major long-distance force in South Africa a couple of years ago. He won the race in a reasonable 1:09:44 and left the second-placed Rulf Nkhi (1:13:15) behind by close to a kilometre.
To his credit, Nkhi is already a Masters Division athlete (40 – 49 years), but decided to enter the senior race where the prize money was better. Nkhi was followed by Chabeli Tsolo, who got hold of the bronze medal in a sluggish 1:17:17.
Njeya, one of the Free State’s best woman long-distance athletes of all time, clocked a respectable winning time of 1:29:34. She comfortably ran down Adila Erasmus (1:45:03) and Cama Smith (1:47:50) into respective second and third spots.
The winner of the Masters Women (40 – 49 years) section, Leana Esterhuizen, produced one of the best performances among the women. She clinched gold in 1:38:00, a time much faster than Erasmus and Smith.
In the 10km for men, Godfrey Ramakone (34:35) hardly broke a sweat to take honours over second placed Pule Hlabahlaba (35:01). However, Hlabahlaba had his brother, Majake, breathing down his neck in their chase for silver. Majake (35:10) was a mere nine seconds behind Pule.
Kesa Molotsane scored a runaway victory in the 10km for women in 40:08. Annah Moeketsi (41:50) found herself in a distant second place, whilst Maryna Swanepoel (44:06) took third spot, approximately a kilometre behind Molotsane. – RUFUS BOTHA