South Africa made a clean sweep of the 93rd Comrades Marathon on Sunday with Bong’musa Mthembu and Ann Ashworth ensuring that the coveted titles remain on these shores.
In an SA 1-2 in both categories, Joseph Mphuthi and Gerda Steyn clinched the runners-up spots.
KwaZulu-Natal-born runner Mthembu completed a hat-trick of victories, after wins in 2014 and 2017. He is only the second man to do so since Bruce Fordyce back in 1988.
The Arthur Ford runner warded off a strong challenge from Marko Mambo of Zimbabwe‚ who had set the pace for the better part in the second half of the 90km down run.
Mthembu made his breakthrough at Cowies Hill‚ about 18km from the finish at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
From that point the rest of the running pack — with a significant South African presence — had to jostle for the remaining top 10 slots.
The biggest surprise was Edward Mothibi’s soaring Comrades debut. He finished fourth, as South Africans secured seven of the top 10 places.
Meanwhile‚ it was an incredible end to the weekend for Ashworth as she claimed her maiden Comrades title, and also for her club‚ Team Massmart. The club was launched in October.
It was also an incredible achievement for Steyn‚ 28‚ the reigning Two Oceans Marathon champion‚ who is touted as the rising star of women’s ultra running.
1. Ann Ashworth‚ SA (6:10:04)
2. Gerda Steyn‚ SA (6:15:34)
3. Alexandra Morozova‚ Russia (6:20:21)
4. Tanith Maxwell‚ SA (6:20:35)
5. Charne Bosman‚ SA (6:33:08)
6. Sophia Sundberg‚ Sweden (6:45;24)
7. Devon Yanko‚ US (6:47:44)
8. Sarah Bard‚ US‚ (6:49:05)
9. Carla Molinaro‚ Britain (6:50:31)
10. Yolande McLean‚ SA (6:52:16)
1. Bong’musa Mthembu‚ SA (5:26:34)
2. Joseph Mphuthi‚ SA (5:35: 09)
3. Steven Way‚ Britain (5:35:27)
4. Edward Mothibi‚ SA (5:36:32)
5. Marko Mambo‚ Zimbabwe (5:37:49)
6. Gordon Lesetedi‚ SA (5:39:32)
7. Teboho Sello‚ Lesotho (5:42:21)
8. David Gatebe‚ SA‚ (5:42:43)
9. Gift Kelehe‚ SA (5:46:50)
10. Nkosinathi Duma‚ SA (5:47:09)