This came in their respective races at the extremely successful Music Marathon, presented by Chatz, Vodacom and OFM, the sound of your life, which was staged in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
An extremely successful meeting could be seen by most of the participants as the understatement of the year. Close to 1500 athletes took to the roads of the City of Roses in the 5-km, 10-km, half-marathon (21,1 km) and marathon (42,2 km) races which were presented during the Music Marathon. And, for a better vibe of excitement and enjoyment at and during the races one would have to travel far.
Hats off to the presenters, Bloemfontein Achilles, as well for producing such a top-class road race meeting, something hardly ever experienced at road races in the Free State.
Njeya (Mr Price), the Free State marathon record holder (42,2 km, 2:42:39) entered in the 40 – 49 years age group in the same event and rocked the boat by crossing the finish line in first place overall. Her winning time of 3:13:40 was excellent, especially considering the high altitude of Bloemfontein and her age.
She left the youngsters in the open category way behind and in the process, beat the winner of the last-mentioned category, Sandra Mansvelder (Kovsies, 3:27:10), by more than 13 minutes. The visitor from Kimberley, Surine van Listenborg (Vodacom, 3:27:50), crossed the line in third place overall.
The marathon for men was comfortably won by Alfred Tembu (Bloemfontein Achilles) in 2:45:36.
Although Beling, who entered in the junior event (10 km), experienced one of her rare poor performances (compared to her own standards), she still crossed the line in first place overall in 37:37.
The winner of the open category for women, Monette van Schalkwyk (43:01), stopped the watches more than five minutes after Beling.
Anastacius Ontong (Eskom, 32:39) won the 10 km for men at a canter, keeping second placed John Manje (Eskom, 33:42) at bay with more than a minute to spare.
The OFM meeting turned out to be one of runaway victories and Pule Hlabahlaba (Mangaung AC) was no exception in the half-marathon for men. He won in a decent inland time of 1:05:54.
The biggest performance disappointment of the meeting must go to pre-race favourite, Chabeli Nyedimane (Nedbank). This hot-shot road racer and trail runner would usually have had no problems to secure a win in a race like this, but he finished way off the pace (second) in 1:09:53. One can only guess that the injury he sustained earlier this year in a trail run has thrown him back a notch or two. But, to have sympathy with him is also hard to find. After he sustained the injury, he kept on racing with a severe limp and any coach worth his qualifications will tell you that his taking part whilst injured is a no-go.
No such problems for Annah Moeketsi (Nedbank AC) in the half-marathon for women. In comparison to some good times she clocked during the 2017 road running season, it seemed she went out to secure a win only and chased no record times. Win she did, in a time of 1:26:09. This left Maryna Swanepoel (Eskom) to hang in there for silver in a time of 1:28:48.
A tap on the shoulder must go to the junior winner in the same race, Jayme-Sue Vermaas (Kovsies). This African triathlon champion in the junior division offered to guide the blind international middle-distance athlete, Danie Breitenbach (Kovsies), for a training run and finished third overall in her best time by far. They clocked 1:30:54.