TRIPLE Comrades Marathon champion Stephen Muzhingi failed in his quest to reclaim his throne as he came a distant 10th in the gruelling 87km ultra-race in Durban, South Africa, yesterday.
By Sports Reporter
Muzhingi last won the race in 2011 in a record time of five hours 32 minutes and 45 seconds pocketing R300 000.
He had vowed to bring the title home.
But yesterday the 33-year-old Zimbabwean huffed and puffed as old age seemed to take its toll on him, as he was a pale shadow of his former self in the 88th edition of the Comrades Marathon.
In a clear sign the former Comrades champion had seen better days, he was outshone by little known Zimbabwean Mike Fokorani, who sprung up a surprise by finishing in a strong eighth position while the veteran runner Muzhingi crossed the line in 10th position.
The race was won by South Africa’s Claude Moshiywa, who finished about 10 minutes ahead, bagging the R300 000 title, ahead of Sweden’s Jonas Buud and Lesotho’s Mpesela Ntlosoeu, in second and third place respectively.
Moshiywa crossed the line in five hours 32 minutes and 13 seconds at Pietermaritzburg’s cricket oval.
He became the second South African athlete to win the race in 21 years as he dethroned defending champion Ludrick Mamabolo, who tested positive for a banned substance at last year’s race and, after almost a year of legal wrangling, was recently found not guilty because of “technical irregularities” in the testing procedure.
In the women’s race, Russia’s Nurgalieva sisters firmly led for the greater part of the race with Elena Nurgalieva finishing the race in first position to claim the women’s title and maintain Russian dominance in the ultra-marathon race.
The race, the world’s largest ultra-marathon, is an “up” run this year from coastal Durban to Pietermaritzburg (670m above sea level) and 86,96 km long. A total of 19 722 athletes participated.
Other Zimbabwean athletes that participated in the gruelling race include Point Chaza, Collin Makaza and Tabitha Tsatsa, who were in the race as pacesetters, as well as last year’s fourth-place finisher Marko Mambo.
1 Claude Moshiywa 05,32:09
2 Jonas Buud 05,41:21
3 Mpesela Ntlosoeu 05,43:38
4 Ludwick Mamabolo 05,45:49
5 Johannes Kekana 05,46:27
1 Elena Nurgalieva 06,27:09
2 Olesya Nurgalieva 06,28:07
3 Irina Antropova 06,44:36
4 Joasia Zakrzewski 06,53:29
5 Charne Bosman 06,53:35