CAPE TOWN – Ethiopian Asefa Negewo might have missed his planned flight to Cape Town on Friday, but did not miss the chance to defend his title at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon this morning.
A slight breeze in the middle stages of the race would not have affected the masses, but made all the difference to the elite, and Negewo’s winning time of 2 hours 10 minutes 03 seconds (2:10.03) was over a minute slower than his record last year.
Negewo ran with a pack of six in pursuit of race pacer Henry Kiplagat of Kenya, who dropped out after 30km, his work done.
Xolisa Tjale was the sole representative of South Africa with the leaders, but dropped off the pace at 34km, leaving Negewo to do battle with his compatriot Ketema Bekele and Kenyan Duncan Maiyo.
Negewo broke clear through Paarden Eiland at 38km, racing to victory by a minute ahead of Bekele, with Maiyo third.
Track and field long-distance star Elroy Gelant was the first South African home in his marathon debut, running an impressive time of 2:12.42.
Ethiopian Betlehem Moges won a dramatic women’s race, missing the record by just three seconds in 2:30:23 after catching Namibian Helalia Johannes just before the stadium at the finish.
Men: 1 Asefa Negewo (Ethiopia) 2:10:03, 2 Ketema Bekele (Ethiopia) 2:11:05, 3 Duncan Maiyo (Kenya) 2:11:29, 4 Thomas Ayeko (Kenya) 2:12:03; 5 Elroy Gelant (South Africa) 2:12:42.
Women: 1 Betlehem Moges (Ethiopia) 2:30:23, 2 Helalia Johannes (Namibia) 2:30:43, 3 Agnes Kiprop (Kenya).