Long distance runners to fight it out at ASA Marathon Championships

Veteran athletes and ultra-distance stars will be difficult to beat as provincial athletes from around the country line up in the hunt for coveted national titles at the ASA Marathon Championships on Sunday May 8 in Durban.

The ASA Marathon Championships will start at 6am on Sunday. The Durban International Marathon will also host an open 10km race, starting at 6.30am.

With the championship contest being held in conjunction with the Durban International Marathon, local athletes will have to be at their best to be competitive in the open race. Many of them, however, will be more concerned about the race within the race because of the national medals on the line.

In the men’s division, 43-year-old former Two Oceans ultra-marathon champion, Lungile Gongqa (Western Province Athletics), who finished second at the 2015 Cape Town Marathon, will be eager to prove he can still take on his younger compatriots over the classic 42.2km distance.

He is up against the likes of Xolisa Tyali, a multiple SA Championships medallist on the track and the road, and his Central Gauteng Athletics teammate, 40 year-old ultra-marathon runner Jonas Makhele (CGA).

The women’s race will be equally competitive, with former Comrades Marathon champion Ann Ashworth turning out among the favourites for the SA crown.

She faces a field which includes her KwaZulu-Natal Athletics teammate Jenet Mbhele, one of the most versatile athletes in the country, as well as former SA marathon champion Cornelia Joubert (CGA), while Stella Marais will hope to put up a fight for the podium in the colours of Athletics Gauteng North.

“Road runners have been itching under the feet to run this race,” said James Moloi, the president of Athletics South Africa.

“We are looking forward to an interesting contest which has a potential to see an upset. We thank KZN Athletics, the City of eThekwini and the Local Organising Committee for the work they have been doing to prepare for this race.” – ASA Media


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