FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN: Namakoe Nkhasi claimed gold in the elite men’s race, while Lebogang Phalula was the lady to beat on the day. Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg
Fresh off a personal best in Cape Town a week ago, Lesotho’s Namakoe Nkhasi showed the big names a clean pair of heels in the inaugural FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN on Saturday, 24 September.
The 23-year-old crossed the finish line at Mary Fitzgerald Square in 29:48 ahead of Kenya’s Edwin Koech. It was billed as the showdown between arch rivals Stephen Mokoka and Elroy Gelant with fellow Olympian Sibusiso Nzima also in the mix, but it was Namakoe who had too much firepower on the day.
As expected the front running Nzima – who finished second in Cape Town behind Namakoe – went straight to the front, pushing the pace. Within 2km the lead pack had been whittled down to 10 men including Nzima, still driving the bus, Mokoka, Gelant, Namakoe, Koech, Joel Mmone and Phillimon Mathiba.
The 3km mark was obliterated in 8:15. Once the leading men turned down Bertram Road and made their way up to the Johannesburg Stadium, Namakoe came to the fore pushing the pace. At the 5km mark he opened a gap, with only Edwin Koech being able to follow.
Nkhasi made a big push up at the bottom of Rissik Street leading into Joubert, breaking the Kenyan, Koech. From there it was plain sailing as the man from Lesotho was able to enjoy his win over a top notch field.
Second across the line was Edwin Koech (30:07) with Sibusiso Nzima claiming the final spot on the podium.
“When we started to climb just before the 5km mark I could see that the guys were not strong enough to go with me so I pushed from there. Only Edwin (Koech) was able to stay with me. I knew I was strong after my PB last week (28:28) so when we turned up Rissik and Joubert street I surged again and Edwin was not able to go with me.”
The ladies race as expected was between the twins Lebo and Lebogang Phalula and Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Nyahora.
Nyahora started to push the pace after 3km (9:32) with Lebo and Lebogang close on her heels and triathlete Andrea Steyn sitting comfortably in 5th. At the long descent at the top of Bertram Road, Nyahora surged and opened a small gap over the twins, but up the climb towards 5km and the Johannesburg Stadium, it was the strength of Lebogang Phalula that told. The 32 year-old had completed her debut Marathon a week earlier, finishing 3rd in Cape Town in 2:38 and there were concerns that the race would still be in her legs; but clearly the hard work needed to train for a marathon played into her favour as she had a 6sec lead over her sister and Nyahora at 5km (17:36).
By 7.5km the gap was substantial. Lebogang went through the three-quarter mark in 27:11 and made full use of the final 2km of downhill racing to win in 35:33.
“When I saw Lebo and Rutendo driving hard in the beginning, I just sat”, said Lebogang. “When we started to climb before the 5km mark I saw that they were struggling. I then started to push.”
“I am really happy to win here today as both my sister and Rutendo beat me over 10km after they ran their marathon, so this was good.”
The FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN kicked off at FNB Bank City Johannesburg. Runners, walkers, fitness enthusiasts and fun-seekers were granted the unique opportunity to celebrate Johannesburg’s rich heritage by exploring their city before crossing the finish line at Mary Fitzgerald Square Newtown.
Iconic landmarks on route included: the Nelson Mandela Bridge, FNB Bank City, Constitution Hill, Mary Fitzgerald Square, Wits University, Neighbourgoods Market and Ellis Park Stadium to mention just a few.
Themba Mabizela, FNB Provincial Head for Gauteng South and Central, says it was both exciting and overwhelming to see thousands of runners and sports enthusiasts gathered to participate in the inaugural FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN. “Thank you to everyone that took time to explore and experience Jozi with us in a unique and extraordinary way. Events of this calibre have a powerful way of uniting and enabling people from different backgrounds and cultures to come together and socialise through fun recreational activities. The FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN would not have been successful without all your support. The response has truly been exceptional and we are looking forward to hosting you again next year for another leg of this thrilling race.”
CLICK HERE to view the Prize Purse breakdown of the 2016 FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN.
The action of the inaugural event was closed off by South African folk swing band, Rubber Duc.
Charity Support: When entering online, runners could choose to support either or both of the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN Charities: the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation and the Johannesburg SPCA.
For more information on the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN email firstname.lastname@example.org
About the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN sponsorship:
FNB Business has decided to sponsor the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN because we believe in supporting a race that encourages people to run and know their city; a race that will re-invent how people perceive and experience the city centre. The FNB Bank City buildings are well-known and iconic buildings in the Johannesburg CBD and the precinct was recently revamped in 2015 with three lifestyle concepts of Work, Eat & Play in mind. For many years it has been viewed as traditional banking headquarters; however the recent revamp has positively changed the experience of the precinct. The additions of new restaurants, coffee shops, health & beauty stores and other stores of interest have been well received. Sponsoring the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN is aligned to our belief in the importance of rejuvenating and reviving the city centre so it remains relevant.
ISSUED BY: Newsport Media