Asefa Mengstu Negewo of Ethiopia shattered the long-standing South African all-comers record in the marathon to highlight the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (18).
The 31-year-old clocked 2:08:42 to knock more than a minute from the previous fastest performance run on South African soil, David Tsebe's 2:09:50 set in Port Elizabeth in 1990. With his victory Negewo also improved on his own previous personal best of 2:11:16, set in Bloemfontein last April.
Negewo edged Kenyan Emannuel Tirop Keter who crossed the line in 2:08:47, an improvement of more than six minutes on his previous best of 2:15:17 from 2014.
Barnabas Kiptum of Kenya was third in 2:09:21, also a personal best for the 30-year-old.
"It is great to see such fast times being run on SA soil, which shows how much value a race of this stature brings to the sport at domestic level," said race ambassador and former world half-marathon record holder Elana Meyer.
Further back, South Africans Motlokoa Nkhabutla and Desmond Mokgobu were fourth and fifth, clocking 2:11:02 and 2:11:33 respectively.
Tish Jones of Great Britain was the surprise winner in the women's contest, clocking 2:36:13. For the 31-year-old, it was an improvement of nearly 20 minutes from her only other recorded marathon.
Megerta Ifa Geletu of Ethiopia, the pre-race favourite, was second in 2:36:34, with South African Lebogang Phalula third in 2:38:00.
The Cape Town Marathon, one of Africa's most iconic road races, boasted a mass field of 8000 entrants, cementing its position among the continent's most popular road running events.
"Three years after it was relaunched, we have seen the Cape Town Marathon develop into a world-class event," said race director Janet Welham. "We are confident it will continue to grow in success and popularity as the race goes from strength to strength."
Bob Ramsak and organisers for the IAAF