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Athletics | Running

© Gallo Images

Marko misses out



It could well have been title number four, but three-times winner Marko Mambo lost his big chance with the smell of the finish in his nostrils as Johannesburg-based Kenyan debutant John Wachira powered past him in the last kilometre to claim his biggest pay day in the Old Mutual Two Oceans 56 kilometre on Saturday, clocking three hours, ten minutes and six seconds.

The words "fly now, pay later" may well be ringing in the 37-year-old Zimbabwean's ears as he broke on the climb up Chapman's Peak and then rocketed down the other side and screamed up the notorious Constantia Neck, but then the whole plan started to go pear shaped as he trundled up Franks Finger, the last hill before the UCT finish.

It was then that Wachira, who hails from Eldoret in the heart of the Rift Valley, took his chance and hunted him down before delivering the final blow with the stadium in sight.

"I came to South Africa to follow my running dream two years ago, I won the Pick n Pay Marathon in 2:25 and did a 2:27 in Soweto. I then tried the 50 kilometre City2City were I finished seventh.

"I then realised that the further the race was the better I ran. I came to Cape Town with a definite goal in mind - to win no matter what it took - and I did," he explained.

Second-placed Mambo (3:10:52) complained at the finish of his shoes being too tight but judging by the powerful closing burst of Wachira he would have beaten most on the day.

Third place went to Maseru-based Mpesela Ntlotsoeu, who clocked 3:11:56 with his countryman Stephen Muzhingi forth on 3:12:05.

The women's race debate was only going to be about which of the Nurgalieva twins was going to win, crossing the line together the judges ruled that Elena had taken the title and her third win in 3:40:43 with Olesya awarded the same time.

Zimbabwean Samukeliso Moyo (MP) claimed third in 3:58:47 with local girl Farwa Mentoor (Bon) pocketing the first South African home title, followed by Adinda Kruger (Nedbank) 4:03:36.

The twins, who have been training in Turkey, could have gone quicker if needed.

"This was a big day for us, we come here because we love this country. We took things easy as there was no real competition. If we had to, we could have run faster," Olesya said.



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