from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
Western Cape Bureau
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – AFTER a record-breaking Comrades Marathon last August, the all-conquering Nedbank Running Club has set its sights on dominating the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town this weekend.
Dubbed “the world’s most beautiful marathon”, the 56-kilometre race is scheduled for the Mother City on Saturday.
It is the opening “Grand Slam” of the year in the South African marathon calendar.
The Nedbank Running Club is upbeat at the prospects of its athletes ahead of the starting gun firing in the Western Cape, months after its runners dominated the Comrades in record-breaking fashion in the KwaZulu-Natal in the East Coast.
The formidable Tete Dijana (winner), Edward Mothibi (second) and Dan Matshailwe (third) achieved podium finishes.
Overall, six athletes from the club in total attained gold medals, awarded to runners that finished in the top ten.
Nick Bester, Nedbank Running Club national team manager, is elated ahead of the Two Oceans.
“As always, Two Oceans is a big event on our calendar,” said Bester, himself a Comrades winner (1991) in his heyday.
“As the Nedbank Running Club, we have a strong team assembled and ready to run,” he added.
The club has tipped Matshailwe for glory this coming weekend.
This in the absence of club mates, Dijane and Mothibi, who recently competed at the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers, where Dijana set a new 50km world record, at 2hours 39 minutes and 3 seconds.
The pair will be kept fresh for the next Comrades, in June.
“We are excited to see how Dan runs because the whole set up he has with Coach (Dave) Adams is without a doubt the most professional set up in the country. The results that his athletes have achieved are evident of this,” Bester said.
Adams believes the training has gone well for Matshailwe, in the laid-back Dullstrom town of Mpumalanga.
While Dullstrom is South Africa’s premier fly fishing destination, Cape Town is the favourite hunting ground of the 29-year-old Matshailwe.
It is in this coastal city that he has run his marathon best of 2:14:06, managed in 2021 when athletics returned after a COVID-19 hard lockdown a year earlier.
“He will be very hard to beat on that day (Saturday). There is no doubt that on race day, Dan will be out to win Two Oceans,” Adams said of Matshailwe.
In the men’s race, South Africans Jonas Makhele and Lloyd Bosman will join Matshailwe in the bid to dethrone the defending champion, Ethiopian Edndale Belachew.
Compatriotic allegiances will be set aside this coming weekend as the southernmost tip of the most untouched continent on earth hosts the world’s most beautiful athletics event.
That is because Sintayehu Yinesu, another figure from the revered East African country of Ethiopia, will also be fancying his chances of dethroning Balachew.
Yinesu is a four-time Soweto Marathon.
In the women’s race, perennial favourite, Amelework Fikadu Bosho, is returning, alongside fellow countrywomen, Tinibeb Ali, Yeshiembet Nguse and Aberu Debele. Ethiopian athletes are renowned in marathons globally, where a mere mention of their names sends shivers down the spines of rivals
South Africa’s Adele Broodryk will lead the Nedbank Running Club’s female contingent from the host country in the effort to take the crown from the defending compatriot, Gerda Steyn.
– CAJ News