The 2014 Two Oceans Ultra Marathon has concluded, with Lebenya Nkoko winning the men’s race in a blazing time of three hours, nine minutes and 52 seconds and Nina Podnebesnova claiming the women’s title by completing the Cape Town course with a time of 3:40:07.
|1||Lebenya Nkoka (LES)||3:09:52|
|2||Hendrick Ramaala (RSA)||3:11:33|
|3||Masilo Matjiane (LES)||3:12:00|
|4||Warinyane Lebopo (LES)||3:12:24|
|5||Ketema Tadesse (ETH)||3:12:35|
|6||Michael Mazibuko (RSA)||3:13:05|
|7||Arnold Kibet Kiptaoi (KEN)||3:14:06|
|8||Henry Moyo (MAL)||3:15:37|
|9||Mthandazo Qhina (RSA)||3:16:07|
|10||Othaniel Phahlane (RSA)||3:16:21|
|1||Nina Podnebesnova (RUS)||3:40:07|
|2||Shitaye Gemechu Debellu (ETH)||3:43:37|
|3||Elena Nurgalieva (RUS)||3:43:59|
|4||Mamorallo Tjoka (LES)||3:46:13|
|5||Paulina Njeya (RSA)||3:50:48|
|6||Olesya Nurgalieva (RUS)||3:51:46|
|7||Chelitu Bogale Asefa (ETH)||3:56:58|
|8||Ntombesintu Mfunzi (RSA)||4:00:52|
|9||Alemtsehay Hailu Kakissa (ETH)||4:03:56|
|10||Samukeliso Moyo (ZIM)||4:07:32|
It was a thrilling event from start to finish, as a number of competitors were in the running as the finish line neared. Hendrick Ramaala, a hometown hero, narrowly missed his shot at a championship with a time of 3:11:33, while Masilo Matijane rounded out the podium with a respectable 3:12:00 finish.
Shitaye Gemechu Debellu did her best to push into the lead but ultimately wound up a few minutes short with a time of 3:43:37. Elena Nurgalieva was the third-placed woman with a time of 3:43:59, mere seconds away from a runner-up performance.
Last year’s men’s winner, David Gatebe, was not able to come through and claim a second straight title. The South African native wasn’t able to crack the top-10, even though he claimed he has been training hard to win. He told the staff of SABC.co.za before the race:
"Everything I've done in training has been focussed on this. I'm going to run my own race, be patient and try to win again.”
Donnette Fry tweeted out a photo from near the area that Getebe made his surge to the front at last year:
It was a little further on that David Getebe owned Two Oceans 2013, groups splitting, Nedbank apparently taken Thys pic.twitter.com/bi3D0InM2R— Donnette Fry(Davis) (@donnette) April 19, 2014
His shortcomings show just how difficult it is to not only win the race but also finish near the top in consecutive years. However, Mamorallo Tjoka has consistently garnered respectable finishes, but has yet to claim a maiden victory in the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon.
Tjoka finished fourth with a time of 3:46:13 and just missed out on her goal of breaking the ribbon this year. She spoke with the staff of SABC.co.za about her improved conditioning prior to the race:
I think my condition is much better than previous years. I've fixed a lot of problems that I've experienced in previous runs, and if the weather is good, I think I'll have a good performance.
2014 marked the fourth time in as many years that Tjoka nabbed a top-four finish, but a title in South Africa is still eluding her.
Will the record times at this event be broken?
While there were a number of stellar showings on Saturday, no one was able to break the record times that are now over 25 years old. There was a cash bonus for topping Thompson Magawana’s men’s record time of 3:03:44, set in 1988, and Frith van der Merwe’s 3:30:36 that was clocked in 1989, but no athlete was able to reach anything close to those figures.
It’ll be interesting to see how these runners do for the rest of their seasons and if success in the South Africa ultramarathon brings them more good fortune in 2014.