Lungile Gongqa Wins The 2017 Two Oceans Marathon – Is First Cape Town Runner To Win Capetown’s Most Prestigious Race in 44 Years

  • submit to reddit

By Riel Hauman, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

April 15 (Published April 20) – Cape Town is called the Mother City because it was the first settlement established by the Dutch colonists at the southern tip of Africa in the 17th Century. On Saturday, nine days past the 365th anniversary of that event, Lungile Gongqa, 38, started the mother of all celebrations when he won the 48th running of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon over 56 km in 3:09:43 with a superb display of power running over the last 4 km. He is the first Cape Town runner in 44 years to win the city’s premier road race.

The women’s race was the opposite of the men’s, with Maryna Damantsevich (BLR), 31, delivering a virtually solo performance to win by more than 10 minutes in 3:37:13. She almost doubled her lead from the standard marathon mark to the finish.

The accompanying half-marathon was won by the two defending champions, Namakoe Nkhasi (LES), whose 1:03:15 broke the course record he had shared with Stephen Mokoka, and Irvette van Zyl in 1:13:53.

Gongqa, who is coached by Hendrick Ramaala, did not finish the Rio Olympic Marathon and prepared for the Two Oceans with a twelfth place in the Mumbai Marathon earlier this year, where he ran 2:18:52. His marathon PB is 2:11:59, run when he was second in the Cape Town Marathon in 2015.

He has run the Two Oceans once before, in 2012, when he finished 29th in 3:25:04.

The last Cape Town winner of the race was Don Hartley, who won the third and fourth editions in 1972 and 1973. Gongqa is only the sixth South African winner in the last seventeen years.

Blustery conditions prevailed throughout and it was cold in the early stages of the race. The usual large pack of runners was at the front in the morning darkness and when they reached the coast at Muizenberg after 16 km, about 34 men were within six seconds of one another.

All the main contenders were there, with the rather small figure of Gongqa letting the others do the hard work at the front, never showing his hand.

The first test came, as always on this hilly course, on the climb up Chapman’s Peak soon after the halfway mark. At that point the unknown Kagiso Motyale had led in 1:34:16, with 24 athletes arranged between 16 and 23 seconds behind him. Prominent in this group were Collen Makaza (ZIM), second last year, defending champion Mike Fokoroni (ZIM), Ethiopia’s Kebede Aberra Dinke, ninth last year, Ramaala, Zimbabwe’s former champions Stephen Muzhingi and Moses Njodzi, Gert Thys (who would drop out after the marathon mark; his fourth DNF in six attempts), Warinyane Lebopo (LES) – and Gongqa.

At the top of the climb at 34 km (180 metres above the sea) there were only fourteen left. Fokoroni was still among them, but suffering from stomach cramps. Then the hard running started on the long downhill into the village of Hout Bay. By the time the course flattened out once more and they reached the marathon mark, ten men remained together at the front.

Melly Kennedy (KEN) was leading, crossing the timing mat in 2:22:34. The Lesotho athletes Moeketsi Mosuhli, Teboho Sello and Lebopo, Fokoroni, Dinke, Gongqa, Makaza, Edward Mothibi and Bongmusa Mthembu were within three seconds of him.

Soon after the marathon mark the winding, tree-lined climb up to Constantia Nek loomed. Within the first two kilometres of the hill four men had been left behind and it was down to Gongqa, looking strong and confident, Sello and Lebopo, Makaza, Dinke and Kennedy.

Cresting the hill at 46 km (215 metres above sea level, the highest point on the course), Gongqa waited another kilometre and with the clock showing 2:42, he threw down the gauntlet for the first time and opened a gap. Running with seeming ease through the dappled shade of the leafy suburb of Constantia, he looked in command.
But Lebopo was not done yet. The Lesotho athlete, who, like his rival, had prepared at high altitude – Gongqa in Johannesburg and Lebopo in the mountains of his country – has had a rather spotty record in the Two Oceans (after finishing fifth in 2010, he was 985th in 2015 and 284th last year), but he now looked like he was going to make amends in 2017.

He caught Gongqa eight minutes later and the pair battled it out side by side around the twisting bends of the next two kilometres. They went through 50 km in 2:50:27, 11 seconds ahead of Sello, who had the same gap on Kennedy. Makaza, Dinke, Mthembu, Mosuhli, Muzhingi and Siphiwe Ndlela rounded out the gold medal contenders. The order would remain almost the same right to the end.

With almost 3 hours on the clock, Gongqa played his final card, and this time there was no response from Lebopo. Gongqa’s strong upper legs pulled him away and although his pace and form faltered noticeably on the last short uphill, Chet’s Hill (named for former race director Chet Sainsbury, who passed away last year), he covered the last 6 km in 19:16 – 38 seconds faster than Lebopo, whose 3:10:21 was 30 seconds faster than he ran in 2010.

He crossed the line with a huge smile, and then fell onto the grass where he lay face down for a while, covered with a towel and with sobs shuddering his shoulders.

The final gold medal went to Mosuhli. Fokoroni finished in the worst possible position, 11th, taking the first silver medal in 3:17:46, just more than four minutes slower than last year. There were only three South Africans in the top eleven.

“This was probably my biggest win,” Gongqa understated. He paid tribute to Ramaala, who himself was second on his debut in 2014, and said his training with the man who still holds the SA half-marathon record (and was 21st here) provided “the base for my win today. This more than makes up for my disappointment in Rio [where he was ill]. The race went to plan – I just knew I had to stick to the lead pack and make my move towards the end.”
Coincidentally the first three runners are all 38, and six of the top sixteen are over 40. The best of these was Muzhingi, who won the race in 2012 and also took the Comrades in 2009, 2010 and 2011; he finished eighth in 3:15:47.

In the women’s race there was no stopping Damantsevich. Coming into her first ultramarathon with a marathon PB of 2:30:07, run in Warschau in 2015, and a 45th place in Rio (2:37:34), she was hit by misfortune when in the jostling at the start she fell – not once, but THREE times!

“I did not know where my rivals were after that,” she said through an interpreter. “I was disoriented in the dark, so I went out quite hard, trying to ignore the pain in my legs. It was only when I saw my manager after 17 km and he told me I was far in front that I thought I should slow down a bit, as it was quite windy.”
Far in front she indeed was. At the halfway mark (1:48:20) she led South African debutante Jenna Challenor by 3:28 and was running strongly, looking like an experienced ultramarathoner. The climb up “Chappie’s” did not seem to bother her in the least (she said afterwards that she did not go over the route beforehand).
Thabita Tsatsa (ZIM) was third, Elisabeth Kebede Arsedo (ETH) fourth and last year’s second placer, Tanith Maxwell, who was not feeling well, fifth.

Damantsevich went past the marathon mark in 2:44:05, now 5:32 ahead of a solid looking Challenor, whose marathon PB is more than seven minutes slower (she ran 2:37:12 in last year’s Nagoya Women’s Marathon). Maxwell had moved into fourth behind Tsatsa, more than eleven minutes behind the leader.

The climb up Constantia Nek underlined the difference between Damantsevich and the rest. At the 50 km mark she had stretched her lead to 8:04, with another huge gap of 8:12 between Challenor and Maxwell.

Unlike the men’s race, there were no fireworks towards the end, except that Mary Khourie passed four runners between the marathon mark and 50 km and moved into fifth ahead of another debutante, Ulrica Stander. Over the last 6 km she also passed Ntombesintu Mfunzi to finish fourth in 4:01:08, more than 25 minutes better than her previous best, clocked in 2015.

Damantsevich’s time is the fastest since Olesya Nurgalieva won in 3:33:58 in 2011.

The last gold medal went to debutante Sarah Bard (USA), who was sixth in last year’s Comrades, in 4:05:16.
Double defending champion Caroline Wöstmann, who had run a half-marathon in 1:24:29 a week before the Two Oceans – and won the Om die Dam 50 km four weeks ago – pulled out at 11 km with a hamstring injury.

Two runners, Tony Abrahamson and Louis Massyn, finished their 42nd Two Oceans and are now the co-holders of the record for the most races completed.

Ultramarathon:
MEN –
 1. Lungile Gongqa, 38, 3:09:43 R250,000 (=USD 20,000) + R7500i + R10,000ii (total =USD 21,400)
 2. Warinyane Lebopo (LES), 38, 3:10:21 125,000
 3. Teboho Sello (LES), 38, 3:11:48 65,000
 4. Collen Makaza (ZIM), 36, 3:12:17 35,000
 5. Melly Kennedy (KEN), 34, 3:13:36 25,000
 6. Kebede Aberra Dinke (ETH), 32, 3:14:19 15,000
 7. Bongumusa Mthembu, 33, 3:14:44 14,000 + 5000i
 8. Stephen Muzhingi (ZIM), 41, 3:15:47 13,000
 9. Siphiwe Ndlela, 28, 3:17:06 12,000 + 2500i
10. Moeketsi Mosuhli (LES), 35, 3:17:36 10,000
11. Mike Fokoroni (ZIM), 40, 3:17:46
12. Thuso Mosiea, 41, 3:20:28
13. Rufus Photo, 37, 3:20:48
14. Mzwanele Maphekula, 40, 3:21:36
15. Ludwick Mamabolo, 40, 3:21:42
16. Claude Moshiywa, 42, 3:21:49
17. Edward Mothibi, 32, 3:22:55
18. Temo Rampuku (LES), 31, 3:24:44
19. Kipkoech Chirchir (KEN), 31, 3:26:30
20. Bethuel Netshifhefhe, 45, 3:26:48
21. Hendrick Ramaala, 45, 3:27:20
22. Anda Lubelwana, 30, 3:27:38 7500ii
23. Thulane Magagula, 40, 3:27:50
24. Lutendo Mapoto, 28, 3:28:08
25. Anele Maliza, 39, 3:28:31
26. Thulani Duma, 36, 3:30:07
27. George Ntshiliza, 37, 3:30:09
28. Charles Tjiane, 42, 3:30:53
29. John Mboko, 38, 3:31:13 5000ii
30. Vusi Sokhela, 39, 3:31:46
31. Craig Cynkin, 31, 3:32:14
32. Peter Muthubi, 35, 3:32:19
33. Timothy Munzhelele, 29, 3:32:21
34. Teboho Lejaha (LES), 31, 3:33:10
35. Luthando Hejana, 30, 3:33:42
36. Johannes Kekana, 44, 3:34:24
37. Reginald Ngobese, 50, 3:34:36
38. Anele Ndzuta, 37, 3:35:03 2000ii
39. Melikhaya Kepe, 40, 3:35:31
40. Hein Camphor, 32, 3:35:43 1000ii
41. Phumlani Nxusani, 29, 3:36:45
42. Sootho Raletebele (LES), 29, 3:37:16
43. Peter Ongkabetse Medupe, 42, 3:37:17
44. Jeffrey Gwebu, 36, 3:37:18
45. Mzolisi Makanda, 34, 3:37:44
46. Calvin Malatji, 28, 3:37:47
47. Professa Mthethwa, 23, 3:38:11
48. Ruben Setumu, 49, 3:38:58
49. Nic de Beer, 43, 3:40:15
50. Admire Rushika (ZIM), 30, 3:41:14

82. Mthandazo Qhina, 39, 3:52:59

111. Portipher Dombojena (ZIM), 32, 3:58:08

DNF: Lehlohonolo Raletebele (LES), Mabuthile Lebopo (LES), Gert Thys.

40-49:
 1. Muzhingi (ZIM), above, 3:15:47 R10,000
 2. Fokoroni (ZIM), above, 3:17:46 5000
 3. Mosiea, above, 3:20:28, 4000
50-59:
 1. Ngobese, above, 3:34:36 R5000
 2. Patrick Chipoyi (ZIM), 55, 3:47:05 4000
 3. Matthew Lynas (GBR), 50, 3:51:44 3000
60-69:
 1. Gideon Radebe, 60, 4:19:31 R4200
 2. Kosie Botha, 61, 4:22:47 2600
 3. Aubrey Roberts, 61, 4:40:18 1600
70+:
 1. Marosi Mosehla, 75, 5:17:13 R600
 2. Brian Key, 78, 5:29:52 450
 3. John Mngadi, 72, 5:55:58 300
i = Incentive for first three South African athletes
ii = Incentive for first five local (Western Province) athletes

WOMEN –
 1. Maryna Damantsevich (BLR), 31, 3:37:13 R250,000 (=USD 20,000)
 2. Jenna Challenor, 35, 3:47:32 125,000 + 7500i
 3. Tanith Maxwell, 40, 3:55:42 65,000 + 5000i + 10,000ii
 4. Mary Khourie, 33, 4:01:08 35,000 + 2500i
 5. Ntombesintu Mfunzi, 35, 4:01:26 25,000
 6. Ulrica Stander, 42, 4:02:45 15,000 + 7500ii
 7. Janie Grundling, 37, 4:03:51 14,000
 8. Thabita Tsatsa (ZIM), 44, 4:04:08 13,000
 9. Stephanie Smith, 31, 4:04:16 12,000
10. Sarah Bard (USA), 32, 4:05:16 10,000
11. Julanie Basson, 42, 4:06:48
12. Salome Cooper, 41, 4:08:40
13. Melanie van Rooyen, 39, 4:09:32
14. Danka Erasmus, 30, 4:10:18
15. Samukeliso Moyo (ZIM), 43, 4:13:41
16. Sandra Lynch (IRL), 40, 4:15:17
17. Abby Solms, 27, 4:16:39
18. Allison Blackmore (GBR), 51, 4:20:08
19. Nomaninzi Msumza, 33, 4:21:01
20. Tracy Forbes, 44, 4:21:40 5000ii
21. Paula Rutherfoord (GBR), 36, 4:22:39
22. Nandi Zaloumis Mitchell, 30, 4:25:01
23. Michelle Dreyer, 38, 4:25:13
24. Mia van Heerden, 28, 4:26:37
25. Patricia Gouws, 38, 4:27:20
26. Jennifer Nhlaniki, 39, 4:27:29
27. Simone Verster, 38, 4:28:18
28. Laura Peddle, 34, 4:28:24 2500ii
29. Jana Trojan (CZE), 49, 4:29:10 1000ii
30. Anita du Plessis, 34, 4:29:55
31. Nomonde Apiwe Gaga, 32, 4:30:07
32. Yolande van Heerden, 37, 4:30:18
33. Ursula Frans, 48, 4:30:34
34. Ashleigh White, 43, 4:30:42
35. Candyce Hall, 32, 4:31:58
36. Maria Vilakazi, 41, 4:32:40
37. Irene Goncalves, 40, 4:33:02
38. Ursula Turck, 44, 4:34:19
39. Dianne McEwan, 33, 4:34:39
40. Cecilia Raath, 40, 4:35:52
41. Funeka Zaula, 33, 4:36:10
42. Davera Magson, 42, 4:36:11
43. Elmarie Goodchild, 36, 4:36:27
44. Julia Jansen van Rensburg, 34, 4:36:27
45. Jeannie Jordaan, 37, 4:36:45
46. Lee-Shay Willemse, 23, 4:36:59
47. Mikovhe Dzuguda, 35, 4:37:36
48. Christine Claasen, 52, 4:37:50
49. Marie Wessels, 34, 4:38:17
50. Annatjie Botes, 59, 4:38:49
51. Farwa Mentoor, 43, 4:39:31

66. Lindsay van Aswegen, 48, 4:45:44

DNF: Caroline Wöstmann

40-49:
 1. Maxwell, above, 3:55:42 R10,000
 2. Stander, above, 4:02:45 5000
 3. Tsatsa (ZIM), above, 4:04:08 4000
50-59:
 1. Blackmore (GBR), above, 4:20:08 R5000
 2. Claasen, above, 4:37:50 4000
 3. Botes, above, 4:38:49 3000
60-69:
 1. Nancy Will, 64, 4:55:40 R4200
 2. Jeannine Liebrand (NED), 63, 4:59:28 2600
 3. Hanlie van der Westhuizen, 60, 05:29:36 1600
i = Incentive for first three South African athletes
ii = Incentive for first five local (Western Province) athletes

Half-marathon:
MEN –
 1. Namakoe Nkhasi (LES), 24, 1:03:15 CR* R25,000 (USD 2000)
 2. Khoarahlane Seutlaoli (LES), 25, 1:03:45 12,000
 3. David Manja, 25, 1:04:19 6000
 4. Lucky Mohale, 31, 1:04:36 5000
 5. Thabang Mosiako, 22, 1:04:38 4000
 6. Melikhaya Frans, 27, 1:05:07 3000
 7. Gladwin Mzazi, 28, 1:05:22 2000
 8. Marianio Eesou, 25, 1:05:35 1000
 9. Silindile Gubese, 29, 1:05:59 750
10. Phillimon Mathipa, 24, 1:06:24 500
11. Canisious Nyamutsita (ZIM), 25, 1:07:08
12. Sipho Mbanjwa, 22, 1:07:16
13. Philani Richard Buthelezi, 27, 1:07:27
14. Thomas Rainhold (NAM), 26, 1:08:04
15. Sibusiso Madikizela, 25, 1:08:29
16. Vuyolwethu Madikiza, 23, 1:08:55
17. Pita Eric Makhoali, 26, 1:09:16
18. Joel Mmone, 26, 1:09:17
19. Ayanda Mncube, 25, 1:09:20
20. Sikhumbuzo Seme, 32, 1:09:21
21. Thabang Masihleho, 26, 1:09:23
22. Raydon Balie, 22, 1:09:25
23. Akhona Mdaka, 24, 1:09:25
24. Mthobisi Baloyi, 32, 1:10:10
25. Nkosiyethu Sotyantya, 25, 1:10:54
26. Lesiba Peu, 31, 1:11:14
27. Pule Tjaoana, 35, 1:11:40
28. Thulani Mdletshe, 22, 1:12:14
29. Altus Badenhorst, 27, 1:12:25
30. Xolisani Zamkele, 30, 1:12:28
… 40. Sibusiso Nzima, 30, 1:13:54

40-49:
 1. Tsungai Mwanengeni (ZIM), 43, 1:14:19 R4000
 2. Mathias Kanisiu, 41, 1:20:10 3000
 3. Madoda Feni, 41, 1:21:27 1500
50-59:
 1. Makaya Masumpa, 51, 1:17:44 R2000
 2. Garrett Robson, 51, 1:21:50 1000
 3. Desmond Zibi, 53, 1:22:50 750
60-69:
 1. Muhammad Kriel, 63, 1:28:17 R2000
 2. Robert Lindsay, 62, 1:32:49 1000
 3. Piet Smit, 62, 1:34:40 500
70+:
 1. Johannes Herbst, 71, 1:56:48 R1000
 2. Nic Brummer, 71, 1:59:19 500
 3. Jeff Smith, 71, 02:00:11 250
Juniors:
 1. Godwin Heyns, 19, 1:18:45 R750
 2. Alex Colegrave, 18, 1:24:14 500
 3. Calvin Hammond, 18, 1:24:40 400
*CR; previous 1:03:36, Nkhasi 2016 & Stephen Mokoka 2013

WOMEN –
 1. Irvette van Zyl, 29, 1:13:53 R25,000 (USD 2000)
 2. Nolene Conrad, 31, 1:14:27 12,000
 3. Louisa Leballo, 39, 1:15:00 6000
 4. Cornelia Joubert, 28, 1:15:23 5000
 5. Lebogang Phalula, 33, 1:16:18 4000
 6. Lavinia Haitope (NAM), 27, 1:16:26 3000
 7. Mapaseka Makhanya, 32, 1:17:17 2000
 8. Rutendo Nyahora (ZIM), 28, 1:18:11 1000
 9. Christine Kalmer, 31, 1:18:46 750
10. Betha Chikanga (ZIM), 20, 1:19:24 500
11. Rhudo Monderwa (ZIM), 21, 1:19:53
12. Zintle Xiniwe, 30, 1:21:12
13. Keneilwe Sesing, 28, 1:21:36
14. Onneile Dintwe (BOT), 31, 1:21:51
15. Lineo Chaka (LES), 29, 1:22:46
16. Marelise Retief, 31, 1:22:55
17. Lusanda Bomvana, 25, 1:23:32
18. Cassie Forman, 20, 1:23:51
19. Bulelwa Simae, 40, 1:24:17
20. Jessica Pollock, 23, 1:24:18
21. Anet Coetzee, 28, 1:25:23
22. Loveness Madziva (ZIM), 26, 1:25:45
23. Andrea Steyn, 33, 1:25:51
24. Anél Terblanche, 30, 1:26:45
25. Patience Murowe (ZIM), 28, 1:26:46
26. Shelley Young, 27, 1:26:51
27. Leilani Scheffer, 33, 1:27:45
28. Madri Wiid, 20, 1:27:57
29. Tanya Posthumus-Fox, 36, 1:28:03
30. Judy Bird, 55, 1:28:22
40-49:
 1. Simae, above, 1:24:17 R4000
 2. Janene Carey, 45, 1:28:53 3000
 3. Helen Ibbotson, 41, 1:31:17 1500
50-59:
 1. Bird, above, 1:28:22 R2000
 2. Elmarie Coetzee, 53, 1:34:44 1000
 3. Georgina Andraos, 55, 1:37:18 750
60-69:
 1. Margie Saunders, 63, 1:41:19 R2000
 2. Charmaine Cupido, 61, 1:54:24 1000
 3. Louisa van der Westhuizen, 62, 1:57:24 500
70+:
 1. Veronica van Niekerk, 71, 1:59:23 R1000
 2. Margaret Plantema, 72, 2:03:03 500
 3. Diana Thomson, 70, 2:09:15 250
Juniors:
 1. Kirsten Roodman, 19, 1:42:25 R750
 2. Linda Detering, 19, 1:45:08 500
 3. Gabriella Barker, 19, 1:49:40 400


Like LetsRun.com on Facebook!
Posted in: RRW