Two former pupils of the Navalsig High School in Bloemfontein, Kesa Molotsane and Godfrey Ramakone, scored convincing victories at the second running of the Standard Bank Leon Botha Memorial Brandwag 4-km run on Saturday.
The fun event, in aid of CANSA, started at the Tempe Stadium in Bloemfontein and was held in remembrance of the late Leon Botha who was well known from the 1970s to early 2000s for his remarkable middle- and long-distance coaching performances in athletics, as well as announcing and administration duties in athletics for several decades.
Botha organised a time trial every Monday over the same route since the 1970s and big names used to rock up to test their fitness levels several times on Mondays, including the late Hansie Cronjé (Proteas cricket captain), Jaco Reinach (Springbok 400-m athlete and Springbok winger), Pietie Coetzee (Protea hockey captain), Amanda Coetzer (Wimbledon tennis player) and the majority of the team which won the rugby Currie Cup in 1976.
The fastest times ever run on the route for men and women respectively belongs to former Springbok athlete, Anton Nicolaisen (10:45) and two times world cross country champion in the 1980s, Zola Budd (12:18).
Molotsane proved on Saturday that she is in mean shape, if not the best shape of her life by passing the finish line in the second fastest time a woman could ever manage over the same route. She clocked a magnificent 12:32, which is only 14 seconds slower than Budd’s record which has been standing for more than 30 years.
The performance Molotsane dished up predicts that she will be a hard nut to crack this year in any distance from 1500 m to the half marathon (21,1 km).
Ramakone, who is preparing for the Free State marathon (42,2 km) championships in Sasolburg on Saturday, showed that his speed over the much shorter 4 km is well intact for the Sasolburg race and he should line up as one of the favourites to clinch the title in Sasolburg.
He scored a convincing win in 11:32 and with daylight to spare between him and his closest rivals. He wore down his challengers one by one and running a blistering last kilometer, he was the only athlete who could manage to dip under 12 minutes on the day. – RUFUS BOTHA