Njeya beats Goodchild comfortably

Paulina Njeya, who won the women’s race at the Roses 32km in the City of Roses on Saturday, is in great form for the Two Oceans ultra-marathon taking place in Cape Town in a few weeks. PHOTO: JOHAN ROUX

With the notable upward spiral Elmarie Goodchild (Pentagon Pistols) displayed in road racing performances during the latter part of 2015, one easily could have imagined that she would become a threat to the Free State’s foremost distance runner, Paulina Njeya (Boxer ACG), in 2016.

Njeya, however, ruled out this when she and Goodchild clashed at the annual Pentagon Pistols 32km Rose Run in Bloemfontein on Saturday when she took control from the onset to win in an excellent inland time of 2:13:11. Njeya, who is preparing for the Two Oceans ultra-marathon (56km) in Cape Town on 26 March, left Goodchild (second, 2:21:21)more than eight minutes in her wake. Elandré Marais (Individual, 2:48:40) had to settle for a distant third place.

Njeya proved that she is one of the country’s best distance runners with two top ten finishes at the Two Oceans. She finished tenth in a brilliant 3:53:29 in 2014 and went one position better (ninth) in 2015, though in a slower time of 4:03:59.

If Njeya can build on the form she demonstrated on Saturday, she could find herself among the top ten at the Two Oceans for the third year in succession.

In the men’s race, two former world cross country championships athletes, Pule Hlabahlaba (Individual) and Godfrey Ramakone (Eskom), were hammering each other for gold. In the end, Hlabahlaba (1:48:24) proved three seconds too strong for Ramakone (1:48:27). Third placed Zweli Moreng (Transnet, 1:51:07) was never a threat to the mentioned gold and silver medal winners.

Sampi Morapedi (Unisa, 2:05:49) ran a decent race for his victory in the division for men 40 to 49 years, whilst the first woman in the same age group, Denise Stuart (Nedbank Bloemfontein Achilles, 2:56:07), was mixing it up well with the senior women.