Distance specialists open 2017 campaign

Updated: January 8, 2017

Lusapho April won the Bay to Bay 30km race in Cape Town

​Some of the country’s top distance running and race walking specialists opened their 2017 seasons with respectable performances this week.
Three-time Hannover Marathon champion Lusapho April was made to work hard for victory in the men’s 30km contest at the Nutribullet Bay to Bay road race in Cape Town on Sunday.
The 34-year-old double Olympian covered the distance in 1:36:10, holding off a strong challenge from Etienne Plaatjies, who crossed the line 36 seconds off the pace in second position.
Givemore Mudzinganyama of Zimbabwe grabbed third spot in 1:38:38, while SA marathon record holder Gert Thys was the first veteran man home in 1:45:54.
Meanwhile, Olympic 10 000m runner Dominique Scott outclassed the field in the women’s 15km event.
The 24-year-old Scott, based in the United States, clocked 55:03 after returning home for the festive season.
She finished more than seven minutes ahead of her closest competitor.
Zimbabwean Fortunate Chidzivo won the women’s 30km race in 1:56:54, with local athlete Danette Smith finishing second in 1:59:01.
Student athlete Mariano Eesou dominated the men’s 15km race, taking the title in 46:29, and former national 10km champion Jeromy Andreas ended second in 47:59.
Earlier in the week, race walker Lebogang Shange took third place in a 10 000m race in Canberra, Australia.
Shange completed the contest in 41:56.81, and though he was well outside his personal best of 39:54.24, the national 20km record holder would have been satisfied with his first challenge of the year, which formed part of an annual training camp Down Under.
Evan Dunfee of Canada, who was fourth in the 50km walk at last year’s Rio Olympics, was first across the line in 40:40.29
Fellow ultra-distance specialist Quentin Rew of New Zealand finished second in 41:39.13.