The Bloemfontein long distance athlete, Anastacius Ontong, is currently on the warpath in short trail run races and road races in the City of Roses and he seems determined to write the unofficial “title” as best senior long distance athlete in the Free State behind his name in due course. Some long distance athletics enthusiasts will argue that he already possesses the mentioned “title”.
Ontong had no time for waiting games when he took part in the strenuous and extremely technical SweatGear Trail Run series race which was staged at Happy Valley in Bloemfontein last week Wednesday. He clocked an excellent time of 35:08 for the 8-km route. In the process he thumbed second placed Karabo Masemola (42:14) by more than seven minutes.
Frans Homsek, who took up trail and road running long after finishing school, finished in third place in 43:47.
Herman Fourie (45:24), who passed the finish line in fourth place, should feel proud of himself as his performance was written down as a victory in the veteran men’s section.
Tara-Lea van Zyl did not break much of a sweat to reign victorious in the 8-km race for women. She stopped the watch at a time of 45:50, and even better, she finished seventh overall.
Reanda van Pletzen was the second woman home in 47:35, followed by the first veteran woman, Lizanne Meiring (49:34).
Quinten Meiring had it all his way in the 4-km race as well. He won in a brisk 20:40 and left the respective second and third placed Tiaan Engelbrecht (22:07) and Estean Bakkes (22:23) way behind.
Smiley Marais, who finished fourth overall, won the veteran men’s division in a decent 22:23.
Helen Wessels (24:36) took honours in the women’s 4 km by close to a minute to spare. Helen Cawood (25:31) and Marnene Landman (25:42) followed suit to claim the respective silver and bronze medal positions.
Back to Ontong on the warpath. After his mentioned victory at Happy Valley he decided to take to the road on Saturday at the popular Pentagon Pistols 32-km race. Although he told Voice after the Happy Valley trail event that he was extremely stiff, he recovered in time to claim yet another win in the 32 km.
He was the only athlete to dip below 1:50 and finished in an unofficial time of 1:49:47.
Ontong, who runs for Eskom, won the Swasap half-marathon (21,1 km) a week prior to the Pentagon Pistols 32 km in a quick inland time of 1:08. He is also the current Free State senior champion in the 10 km (road) and possesses the same title in the 10 000 m on the track. – RUFUS BOTHA