Sport


Muzhingi claims Comrades hat-trick

30 May 2011

Zimbabwe's Stephen Muzhingi followed up his two down run victories with an up run victory in the 86th running of the Comrades from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on Sunday. With his win, he became the first man in 23 years to claim the title in three successive years.

The last man to achieve the feat was Bruce Fordyce, known as "the Comrades King", who won the race eight times in a row, from 1981 to 1988, then sat out 1989 before returning in 1990 to add his ninth and last win.

Muzhingi crossed the finishing line in five hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds to record a comfortable victory over South Africa's Fanie Matshipa, who had placed fourth last year.

Took charge

The miner from Limpopo pushed the pace over the second half of the race, but paid for his efforts at the business end of proceedings as Muzhingi took charge 14 kilometres from the end.

Matshipa finished in 5:34.29, a long way ahead of third placed Claude Moshiywa, who finished seventh in 2010. Moshiywa crossed the line in 5:42:05 to give South Africa two men on the podium.

Swedish novice Jonas Buud, the winner of the Swiss Alpine Marathon for the past four years and the Swedish record holder over 100 miles, made his first Comrades Marathon attempt a memorable one by finishing fourth.

Fifth place went to Gift Kelehe, the brother of 2001 champion Andrew Kelehe.

Zimbabwe's Chasara Masiyatsva claimed sixth place, with South Africans Ludwick Mamobolo, Charles Tjiane, Brian Zondi, and Mncedisi Mkhize filling the remaining places in the top 10.

Sixth victory

Russia's Elena Nurgalieva claimed her sixth Comrades Marathon victory, but it was, she admitted afterwards, her toughest win yet.

Her winning time of six hours, 24 minutes and 11 seconds was also her slowest winning time yet and well off her up run record of 6:09.23. To compound matters, she also had to deal with taking a tumble 27 kilometres into the race.

Her twin sister, Olesya, claimed second, 23 seconds behind Elena, with third place going to the American Kami Semick, a World Cup winner over 100 kilometres in 2009.

Canadian-based British runner Ellie Greenwood, the winner of the 100 kilometre World Championship in Gibraltar in November, finished fourth, just over three minutes ahead of the first South African, Farwa Mentoor.

Milestone

It was a milestone performance for Mentoor, who became the first woman to win 10 gold medals.

Russia's Irina Vishnevskaya claimed sixth place, with Britain's Elizabeth Hawker in seventh. South Africans picked up the remaining top 10 spots through Adinda Kruger, Kerry Koen, and Riana van Niekerk.

The 2011 race drew 19 617 starters, making it the third largest entry in its long history.

TOP FINISHERS

MEN

    1. Stephen Muzhingi (Zim) 5:32.45
    2. Fanie Matshipa (RSA) 5:34.29
    3. Claude Moshiywa (RSA) 5:42.05
    4. Jonas Buud (Swe) 5:42.44
    5. Gift Kelehe (RSA) 5:43.59
    6. Chasara Masiyatsva (Zim) 5:44.33
    7. Ludwick Mamobolo (RSA) 5:50.17
    8. Charles Tjiane (RSA)5:50.46
    9. Brian Zondi (RSA), 5:51.08
    10. Mncedisi Mkhize (RSA) 5:51.17

WOMEN

    1. Elena Nurgalieva (Rus) 6:24.11
    2. Olesya Nurgalieva (Rus) 6:24.35
    3. Kami Semick (USA) 6:26.24
    4. Ellie Greenwood (GBR) 6:32.46
    5. Farwa Mentoor (RSA) 6:35.49
    6. Irina Vishnevskaya (Rus) 6:42.07
    7. Elizabeth Hawker (GBR) 6:48.28
    8. Adinda Kruger (RSA) 6:49.01
    9. Kerry Koen (RSA) 6:56.20
    10. Riana van Niekerk (RSA) 6:56.38

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Comrades 2012 officially launched

With a win in the 2011 Comrades Marathon, Stephen Muzhingi became the first man since Bruce Fordyce in the 1980s to win the race three years in succession (Photo: Neil McCartney Blogspot)

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