Ethiopia claim men's and women's titles at Cape Town Marathon
September 18, 2017
Running in a lead pack of six athletes that included Ketema Bekele Negasa, race favourite Laban Mutai, Duncan Maiyo and South Africa’s Xolisa Tyali, Negewu went through 10km in 30:18, some 13 seconds behind pacemaker Henry Kiplagat.
Kiplagat proceeded to pour on the pace and by halfway had extended his lead to 34 seconds over the chasing pack. Kiplagat went through to the half marathon mark in 1:04.29 with the pack clocking 1:05.03.
By 30km, the pack was chasing down Kiplagat and had whittled his lead down to nine seconds with Negewu driving the bus. At 35km, Negewu threw down the gauntlet and pulled away from his rivals to cross the line in 2:10.01
“Defending my title was important to me. I am really happy to be able to defend my title as this race put me on the map,” said Negewu. “I was hoping for a faster time, I wanted to break my course record (2:08.42) but there was a bit of wind between 11 and 18 kilometres which slowed us down, and the guys didn’t want to work together. So if things go well I would like to come back next year and try and win the race for the third time and break my course record.”
Second was countryman Ketema Negessa (2:11.06) with Duncan Maiyo of Kenya taking third (2:11.26)
By 35km it was clear that, pacemaking duties fulfilled, Helalia Johannes was going for the win and when she saw the finish line two kilometres out, she must have thought that the win was hers. But within less than a kilometre to go, she was caught by Betelhem Moges who went on to win in 2:30.22, Johannes coming through six seconds adrift (2:30.28) and Agnes Kiprop third in 2:31.00.
Gelant’s fifth place means he was the first South African home and earned him a R100 000 bonus to go with the R25 000 for fifth. Irvette van Zyl’s ninth earned her R12 000 plus the R100 000 bonus.
However, that has nothing to do with the question of human survival, articulated by the Sidama farmer.
People in Ethiopia as elsewhere would like to exercise their natural right to work and survive. The so-called identity politics is the least of their concerns.
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