By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
At the LC de Villiers Stadium, Pretoria
THE 2013 edition of the Bestmed Tuks Marathon at the High Performance Centre’s LC de Villiers Stadium in Tshwane this morning did not only recorded yet another successful year with the highest mass participation of close to 14 000, but it has also provided most of the athletes a platform to prepare themselves for more competitions ahead.
The race was described by Allan Fritz, head of sales and marketing at Besmed as the most successful and biggest ever in Gauteng to have been seen over recent years.
“Today’s race has proved that we have done well as far as improving the race is concerned, firstly with the increase of participants and secondly with a well organised event a lot of improve, suitable for our chief purpose of promoting well-being,” pointed out Fritz.
The event in the Jacaranda city saw the current Spar 10 km champion Irvette Blerk who late last year got married to the country’s 400m huddles star, Louis “LJ” van Zyl claimed her first-ever Gold medal in the 21 km which has eluded her in her two attempts (2011 and 2012 as she had to watch her counter-part Rene Kalmer snatch the title right under her nose. For the record, Kalmer did not even made it in the top three during today’s race where she participated in the 10km.
Despite the fact that her debut victory in this race’s 21 km category, irvette who finished the race within 77 minutes on the dot said today’s race was like an easy walk in the park.
“To be honest I didn’t feel any competition in today’s race, and it felt like I was on practise as my competitors did not pose me any serious challenge,” said Irvette who has already claimed seven Gold medals from other races this year alone.
In another women’s achievement, Lebo Phalula emerged from nowhere to lay her hands on Gold medal in this event’s 10km, beating strong contenders such as favourite Kalmer (Rene).
Lebo told Sports Focus after the race that she came to this event unprepared as she took a last minute decision to participate.
“I only decided to register for this competition after a friend of mine, Mzazi encouraged me to do so,” said Lebo who finished the race on 33.34 minutes on the dot to lift the title in her first appearance in this event.
The Soweto-born athlete who before today’s race managed to defend her SA Cross Country for the fourth time record on January 24 said Mapaseka Makhanya almost gave her a good run for her money during today’s race.
Like most of today’s inners in the Bestmed Tuks Marathon, Lebo said her next move will be preparing for the Southern Region Cross-Country, then later the World Cross Country in Poland.
In the men’s 21 km category, Steven Mokoka successfully defended his title with easy after finishing on 64th minute.
“This though was not my best time as I finished the race last year on the 64th minutes. This though was done on purpose because I didn’t want to stretch myself too much as I still have one more important race, the Two Oceans in Cape Town on March 24,” said Mokoka.
Other winners during today’s winners include Kgosi Tsosane who scooped Mold medal in the 10 km Senior Men and Musa Eugene Maluleke (5 km Men)