Kemboi, Makhanya win Gauteng titles
Kenyan Shadrack Kemboi took control shortly after the start and charged clear to smash the Gauteng Marathon record on Sunday.
Kemboi, who won the Soweto Marathon in November, crossed the line in 2:14:02 to improve the time set in the inaugural Gauteng race last year, by countryman Kibet Chelimo, by three minutes, 31 seconds.
"I decided to push the pace after two kilometres and everything went according to plan," Kemboi said.
"I enjoyed the race and I'm very happy with my time."
Benedict Moeng grabbed second place in 2:16:33, overtaking fellow South African Michael Mazibuko, who had been alone for most of the race, in the dying stages.
"I had a good run and felt comfortable, but I started cramping after 32km," said Mazibuko, who held on for third position.
"I slowed down a bit and the cramps went away, so I'm very happy with my run."
Meanwhile, Mapaseka Makhanya improved the women's record by six minutes as she secured a comfortable victory on her marathon debut in 2:37:06.
Makhanya had said before the race she was only going to complete around 30km of the distance as a training run, but she admitted afterwards she had planned to finish all along and was trying to avoid pre-race pressure.
"It's my first marathon so I'm very happy to run a sub-2:40," she said.
"I had cramps over the last four kilometres, and I really started feeling it, but I was able to push through."
Mamorallo Tjoka of Lesotho ran a well-judged race to finish second in 2:38:46, with pre-race favourite Meseret Mengistu Biru of Ethiopia, who stayed with Makhanya for more than half the distance, fading in the closing stages to finish fourth.
The marathon event started half an hour late due to a shortage of buses taking the runners to the start, and while some people in the mass field were affected, the elite athletes seemed unfazed, with the top five men running under 2:19:00 and the top five women dipping below 2:44:00.
In the half-marathon, David Manja won the men's race in 1:04:58 and Rene Kalmer bagged the women's title in 1:14:43.
Derocias Ngubane won the men's 10km event in 30:42 and Lebo Phalula secured victory in the women's race in 36:21.