International stars and local talent will use a fast course and pace makers to chase the course record at this weekend’s Cape Town Marathon.
Athletes have their eyes set on the long-standing fastest times set on SA soil over 42.2km, held by David Tsebe (2:09:50) and Frith van der Merwe (2:27:37).
Shadrack Kemboi, who won the race last year in 2:11:41, will spearhead a strong international men’s contingent which also includes the likes of fellow sub-2:10 runners Teferi Fekadu Girma and Kaleb Keshebo Basore of Ethiopia.
Nine-time European cross country champion Sergey Lebid of Ukraine, who set a career best of 2:08:32 in Seoul two years ago, will also be included.
Kenyan Henry Kiplagat and local star Elroy Gelant will perform pace setting duties.
In the women’s race, the international field will be spearheaded by Megertu Ifa Geletu of Ethiopia, who clocked 2:29:45 at the Dubai Marathon in January, and Kenyan athlete Jane Kiptoo, who holds a personal best of 2:31:21.
“Ensuring we have quality fields which can run fast times is a key part of our goal to achieve IAAF Gold Label status, and we are pleased to again showcase a world-class line-up,” said race ambassador Elana Meyer, a former elite athlete and multiple world record holder.
The local contingent are aiming to earn the first SA win since the race was relaunched in 2014.
The domestic line-up will be carried by Lungile Gongqa, who finished second last year in 2:11:59, and former national champion Benedict Moeng.
Eager to establish their places among the continent’s elite athletes over the classic distance, some of the country’s most promising marathon runners will also turn out, including Lucky Mohale and Xolisa Tyali.
The local women’s charge will be led by veteran Tanith Maxwell, who clocked a career record of 2:32:33 at the Berlin Marathon in 2010, Keneilwe Sesing, who finished sixth last year in her debut in 2:43:38, Lebogang Phalula, who will make her first appearance over the 42.2km distance, and former national champion Zintle Xiniwe.
Elite men (international):
Sergey Lebid, Ukraine – 2:08:32 (marathon), 1:01:51 (half-marathon)
Teferi Fekadu Girma, Ethiopia – 2:09:34 (marathon)
Kaleb Keshebo Basore, Ethiopia – 2:09:44 (marathon)
Sintayehu Legese Yinesu, Ethiopia – 2:11:07 (marathon), 1:02:59 (half-marathon)
Shadrack Kemboi, Kenya – 2:11:11 (marathon), 1:01:02 (half-marathon)
Ketema Bekele Negasa, Ethiopia – 2:11:17 (marathon)
Alex Chesakit, Uganda – 2:13:06 (marathon), 1:01:42 (half-marathon)
Asefa Mengistu Negewo, Ethiopia – 2:11:16 (marathon), 1:01:36 (half-marathon)
Elite men (SA):
Benedict Moeng – 2:10:21 PB (marathon), 1:02:23 (half-marathon)
Lungile Gongqa – 2:11:59 (marathon), 1:03:57 (half-marathon)
Lucky Mohale – 2:13:35 (marathon), 1:01:08 (half-marathon)
Xolisa Tyali – 2:16:03 (marathon), 1:01:58 (half-marathon)
Elite women (international):
Jane Kiptoo, Kenya – 2:31:21 (marathon), 1:09:07 (half-marathon)
Vicoty Chepkemoi, Kenya – 2:46:56 (marathon), 1:10:09 (half-marathon)
Megertu Ifa Geletu – 2:29:45 (marathon), 1:11:25 (half-marathon)
Elite women (SA):
Tanith Maxwell – 2:32:33 (marathon), 1:13:22 (half-marathon)
Keneilwe Sesing – 2:43:38 (marathon)
Zintle Xiniwe – 2:41:49 (marathon), 1:11:24 (half-marathon)
Lebogang Phalula – 1:11:35 PB (half marathon), marathon debut