CAPE TOWN – A new running talent emerged in Stellenbosch on Saturday morning as 22-year-old Zimbabwe-born, Tanaka Hove, outran a powerful field to win the Winelands Marathon in 2 hrs 27 min 23 sec, while Johannesburg athlete, Bathabile Manyaka, ran a strong personal best time to win the women’s competition.
Now based in Stellenbosch, the charismatic Hove was unknown to most of the favoured athletes who lined up in the early hours at the start of the traditional undulating circuit around some of the region’s best-known wine estates. And they were content to allow this apparently inexperienced young runner to race away into the lead after 16km, thinking they would catch him later in the marathon.
But the next they saw of Hove was when he greeted them at the finish line as they trailed the youngster by some distance. Itheko’s Ben Matiso, who won in 2017, crossed the line in second, just under two minutes in arrears after setting the pace for the first quarter, with his clubmate, Moses Ndoji, last year’s winner, missing out on the podium, outsprinted by back-to-form Nedbank athlete, Sityhilo Diko in the final 200 metres.
Not that Hove is new to marathoning, or to winning. Just two months after his 22nd birthday, Hove has already won four out of the six marathons he has started, but yesterday’s marathon was his first in South Africa. “I like to run in other African countries,” Hove explained. “I have run marathons in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia and Mozambique, but I’ve been a bit cautious about running at home.
“I was running in a lead pack until 16km, but the others were playing around, surging here and there. And then my mind just told me to go – and so I went! I found the hills ok, but the gravel was very tough – that was the only place where I struggled.”
It was a welcome return to top competition for Diko, who has struggled with injury and illness. His has raced infrequently since his fourth place in the 2016 Winelands and he went one better this morning, earning a podium position with his final sprint.
Unlike Hove, Manyaka was content to bide her time, running in 6th position as the lead women turned into Annandale Road at 14km, some distance behind leader, Murray and Robert’s veteran and 2016 champion, Michelle Dreyer.
Moving steadily through the field, Manyaka finally took the lead from Dreyer at 32km, as the athletes turned onto a hilly gravel section. Dreyer was unable to stay with her rival as Manyaka surged ahead to clinch victory in 3:11:40 – ten minutes inside her previous best marathon time.
“The race went really well and I’m thrilled to have a new marathon best time,” the 37-year year old Massmart runner admitted. “I’ve run many marathons since 2011 including five Two Oceans ultras, but this was my first standard marathon in the Cape. I think I’ll come back for more!”
Melody Marcus-Cupido, who placed second in 3:17:04, has enjoyed a successful return to competition this year and ran just the second marathon of her career this morning, following her debut in Mossel Bay in 2012. “I felt like quitting at 30km,” Marcus-Cupido admitted. “But then I caught sight of my coach, Robbie Links, and knew I had to continue!”
Veteran Lindikhaya Mathangai shook off his younger rivals with ease to win the half marathon in 1:06:46; with his Nedbank teammate, Annie Bothma, enjoying a superb outing to win the women’s race in 1:17:47.
2019 Winelands Marathon, Stellenbosch
Men: 1 Tanaka Hove (Tmp licence) 2:27:45; 2 Ben Matiso (Itheko) 2:29:23; 3 Sityhilo Diko (Ned WP) 2:30:18; 4 Moses Njodzi (Itheko) 2:30:29; 5 Bernard Rukadza (RCS Gugs) 2:32:07; 6 Jimmy Bonjesi (Whalers) 2:32:48; 7 Reuben Mhashu (Hout Bay) 2:37:34; 8 Simphiwe Vellem (RCS Gugs) 2:38:51; 9 Mpendulo Sigwadi (Ned WP) 2:42:58; 10 Sibongseni Khuzwayo (Ntunjambili) 2:43:00
Masters: +40 yrs: 1 Bonjesi; 2 Vellem; 3 Senzo Ngobese (Spart) 2:51:47; +50 yrs: 1 John September (Itheko) 3:01:56; 2 Andries Swanepoel (B’fell) 3:08:03; 3 Selyn Losper (Ned WP) 3:11:11; +60yrs: 1 Henry Cieverts (Top Form) 3:40:05; 2 Pieter Langenegger (Held) 3:41:46; 3 Jacobus Visagie (Well) 3:44:49; +70yrs: 1 Ian Bocock (For) 4:54:00; 2 Lawrence Ashworth (Strd) 5:12:25; 3 Kaare James (Pine) 5:54:41
Women: 1 Bathabile Manyaka (Massmart) 3:11:40; 2 Melody Marcus-Cupido (In Touch) 3:17:04; 3 Elme Middelmost (B’fell) 3:18:42; 4 Michelle Dreyer (M&R) 3:18:47; 5 Lee-Shay Willemse (Vel) 3:3:23:07; 6 Stephane Maingard (Faku Chiefs) 3:20:20; 7 Carla Whitehead (Cent City) 3:27:16; 8 Maretha Combrink (Paarl) 3:28:56; 9 Maritsa Kotze (Bell) 3:30:11; 10 Kerryn Armstrong (AAC) 3:32:03
Masters: +40yrs: 1 Marcus-Cupido; 2 Middelmost; 3 Dreyer; +50yrs: 1 Lynn Davis (AAC) 3:39:05; 2 Michelle van Lill (tmp lic) 3:46:58; 3 Rene Scott (K-Way VOB) 3:49:09; +60yrs: 1 Nancy Will (Pine) 3:57:04; 2 Annelie Mader-Van der Linde (D’ville) 4:18:52; 3 Beverley Mehl (Topform) 4:33:19; +70yrs: 1 Veronica van Niekerk (EGA) 4:44:06
2019 Winelands Half Marathon, Stellenbosch
Men: 1 Lindikhaya Mthangayi (Ned WP) 1:06:46; 2 Danzil Paulse (Sanlam) 1:18:19; 3 Nkosinathi Madyo (AAC) 1:08:39; 4 Akhona Mdata (Ath Acad Boland) 1:08:47; 5 Philani Sengce (Held) 1:09:37; 6 Morne Kammies (Sanlam) 1:09:50; 7 Siviwe Nkombi (M&R) 1:10:38; 8 Masande Ganyaza (Ned WP) 1:11:12; 9 Nkosiyethu Sotyantya (MSA) 1:11:52; 10 Vakalisa Kopolo (Ned WP) 1:12:06
Women: 1 Annie Bothma (Ned WP) 1:17:47; 2 Nomvuyisi Seti (Retail Langa) 1:26:07; 3 Jeanette Kohler (Ned WP) 1:26:45; 4 Julia Fleming (tmp lic) 1:28:48; 5 Clare Rodseth (K-Way VOB) 1:31:19; 6 Nienke Pannekoek (AAC) 1:32:07; 7 Nolubabablo Dyonase (K-Way VOB) 1:32:42; 8 Lisa Pringle (AAC) 1:32:55; Lize-Mari Jacobs (d’ville) 1:33:39; 10 Tracy Forbes (K-Way VOB) 1:33:51