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Foreign runners dominate Soweto Marathon again

Ethiopian runners stole the show again at this year’s Old Mutual Soweto Marathon when Sintayehu Legese secured a record third straight win in 2:20:44 in the men’s race and his compatriot, Selam Abere, cruised to victory in 2:42:32 in the women’s race on Sunday November 6.
Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba saw off the 25 000-strong field from the starting point at FNB Stadium, just outside Soweto, at the crack of dawn. His presence at the 22nd edition of the marathon sent a strong message about the importance of physical activity in building a healthy and resilient city population.
Mayor Mashaba said the City of Johannesburg was committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle among its citizens.
“This is an exciting day for the people of Joburg,” said Mayor Mashaba. 
He said one of the major aims of the marathon was to encourage people to make fitness an important feature of their lives. The City, he said, was proud to be part of “such an amazing event”.
Both Legese and Abere pocketed R220 000 each after what seemed to be effortless performances.
“It’s great to be here and running in this beautiful city,” Legese said through an interpreter. “The first time I won, people were encouraging me and gave me lots of support, which is why I like this race and keep coming back.” He said the race was not easy but was refreshing as he came prepared.
In the men’s 42km race, Tsepo Mathibelle of Lesotho won R120 000 for coming second in 2:21:46. Seutloali Khoarahlane, also from Lesotho, won R90 000 for placing third in 2:23:22.
In the women’s race, Chelitu Bogale Asefa of Lesotho came second in 2:45:22. Irvette van Zyl (2:46:32) became the first South African to win third place in the women’s race.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development Cllr Nonhlanhla Sifumba, who handed out the prizes, said she was looking forward to taking part in the half marathon next year. “The beauty of this race is that it unifies people and puts Joburg on the map. 
“I’d like to congratulate those who ran. Those who are at home, we hope to see you at the starting line next year,” said Cllr Sifumba.
She said the streets were completely safe, with members of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department keeping an eye on the route. Hydration stations were placed at 3km intervals along the route. 
“It’s important for us as Africans to get together on a regular basis and get Joburgers healthy,” said Cllr Sifumba.
Soweto resident and first-time participant Tinyiko Moyo, who ran the half marathon, said: “My friends invited me and I had a good time. This was a great exercise and also a way to meet people and just be reminded of how beautiful our city is.”
Some of the proceeds of the marathon will go towards the Kliptown Youth Centre and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa.
The following are the rest of the results:
Men’s 21km:
1. David Manja (Nedbank Running Club): 1:07:01.
2. Joel Mohau (Nedbank Running Club): 1:07:56.
3. Hatasi Mthimkhulu (Sibanye Gold Athletic Club): 1:08:04.
Women’s 21km:
1. Onneile Dintwe (Nedbank Running Club): 1:19:41
2. Dinah-Rose Phalula (Boxer Athletics Club): 1:20:17
3. Christine Kalmer (KPMG Running Club): 1:23:00
Men’s 10km:
1. Namakoe Lucky Nkasi (Cool Running): 30:17
2. Desmond Mokgobu (Boxer AC): 30:28
3. Thabang Mosiako (Nedbank Running Club): 30:31
Women’s 10km:
1. Chery-Lee Schoeman (KPMG Running Club): 38:45
2. Lyndi Roelofse (EC Active): 38:59
3. Keneilwe Sesing (KPMG Running Club): 39:46​