Updated: February 20, 2016

Overcoming strong winds and a brutal course, Lucas Jani and debutant Patience Khumalo won a battle of attrition on Saturday to secure the national men’s and women’s marathon titles in East London.
With the majority of the country’s top men missing, despite the addition of a late clause to the Olympic qualifying criteria that required most of them to participate, Jani clawed his way to victory against a strong wind. He crossed the line in 2:21:32.
Lungile Gongqa, who finished second at the Cape Town Marathon in September in 2:11:59 to qualify for the Rio Games, grabbed second spot in 2:22:17. Ntsindiso Mphakathi ended third in 2:23:12.
“I had a good race. I went for a tactical race because I knew it was going to be tough today,” Jani said.
“I deliberately stayed behind within the chasing group but tried to work myself up the field every seven kilometres to test them.
“The winds were really difficult to deal with, but I managed to deal with that like everyone else.”
In the women’s race, after completing her first marathon in 2:47:15, Khumalo collapsed at the finish.
“I had to stop at least four times to deal with cramps, but each time I worked hard to catch up with Mapaseka (Makhanya),” Khumalo said.
“With this being my maiden race, it was a surprise even to me to have won. Before the race this was definitely not the finish I expected.”
Makhanya, currently the second fastest SA women’s qualifier for the Olympics (2:37:21), took second place in 2:51:29.
Tanith Maxwell, also taking part to fulfil the new ASA criteria for the Games, secured the bronze medal in 2:53:19.
The annual championship event was held in conjunction with the Buffs Marathon, hosted by Buffalo Road Runners.

* Full results are available in our Results section