How winners Mthembu and Ashworth led SA's dominance at the Comrades Marathon
South Africa completed a clean sweep at the Comrades Marathon on Sunday as Bong’musa Mthembu and Ann Ashworth ensured that the coveted titles remained on these shores.
It was a SA 1-2 in the two categories with Joseph Mphuthi and Gerda Steyn‚ clinching the runners-up spots.
In achieving his feat‚ Mthembu completed a hat-trick of victories (after he won in 2014 and 2017) and in the process became only the second man to do it since Bruce Fordyce won the popular ultra-marathon back to back in 1988.
The Arthur Ford runner waded 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‚ some 18km from the finish at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
At this point‚ it was left for the rest of the pack that also had a significant South African presence to jostle for the remaining top 10 slots.
The biggest surprise was Edward Mothibi‚ who on his Comrades debut finished fourth as South Africa went on to occupy seven places in the top 10.
Meanwhile‚ it was an incredible end to the weekend for Ashworth as she claimed her maiden Comrades title and also the fort for her club‚ Team Massmart‚ which was launched last 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.
Top 10 finishers
1. Bong’musa Mthembu‚ RSA (5:26:34)
2. Joseph Mphuthi‚ RSA (5:35: 09)
3. Steven Way (5:35:27)‚ Great Britain (5:35:27)
4. Edward Mothibi‚ RSA (5:36:32)
5. Marko Mambo‚ Zimbabwe (5:37:49)
6. Gordon Lesetedi‚ RSA (5:39:32)
7. Teboho Sello‚ Lesotho (5:42:21)
8. David Gatebe‚ RSA‚ (5:42:43)
9. Gift Kelehe‚ RSA (5:46:50)
10. Nkosinathi Duma‚ RSA (5:47:09)
1. Ann Ashworth‚ RSA (6:10:04)
2. Gerda Steyn‚ RSA (6:15:34)
3. Alexandra Morozova‚ Russia (6:20:21)
4. Tanith Maxwell‚ RSA (6:20:35)
5. Charne Bosman‚ RSA (6:33:08)
6. 6. Sophia Sundberg‚ Sweden (6:45;24)
7. Devon Yanko‚ USA (6:47:44)
8. Sarah Bard‚ USA‚ (6:49:05)
9. Carla Molinaro‚ Great Britain (6:50:31)
10. Yolande McLean‚ RSA (6:52:16)