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BY Harwood Promotions

Sandile Ngunuza warmed up for the Comrades and defended his title with a fine victory in slightly cooler and windy weather conditions at The Herald Rafi’s Builders Warehouse Friendly City Marathon at Fountain Vineyard Church fields on Saturday.

Sandile, of Nedbank Running Club, who won in a time of two hours, 30 minutes and 2 seconds, cited his preparation for Comrades as the reason for his smooth performance.


“The new Friendly City Marathon route was a good training run, as the first 21km was flat and fast, followed by the more challenging and hilly second 21km, running into the wind,”Ngunuza said.

Ngunuza has his sights set on finishing in the top 10 of the Comrades, after ending in 14th place last year.

Masande Mlonyeni was second in 2.32.59, with George Ntshiliza, in third place in 2.33.20, both runners were from Nedbank Running Club. Sandile, Masande and George ran together until the 35km mark when Sandile broke away to take the lead.

Ntombesintu Mfunzi , of Nedbank Running Club, finished effortlessly, defending her title and improving her time in 3.16.24.

“I enjoyed the route, it was good training for the Two Oceans, the race was well organized and the support along the route was amazing”, said Ntombesintu.


Jane Barnardo of Body Concept, came second, with a time of 3.17.54.

Barnardo said, “I enjoyed the race but the return 21km was tough, running uphill and into the wind. Catherine Van Der Walt, also of Body Concept , finished third in 3.27.45.


In the men’s 10km event, Zolani Ngqaqa, of Absa NMMU Athletics Club, defended his winning position for the third consecutive year in a time of 32.01.


Frans Melikhaya of Nedbank Running Club, finished in second position in a time of 32.26 followed by Mzolisi Makhanda, of Nedbank Running Club, in third position in 32.31.


The first woman to finish the 10km was Adri Wessels in 40.45. Adri recently returned to South Africa and is living in Walmer Heights.  “The route was very comfortable for me as this is my regular training route,” said Wessels.  Adri was followed by Thabisa Sirayi of Lions Athletic Club, 42.07. Freedah Ncube of Absa NMMU Athletics Club came third, 43.22.


Mzolisi Makhanda was the first man home in the 5km fun run, while Kayla Nell was the first women to finish the 5km.

Aurecon were rewarded for their amazing support to runners along the route when they won the best watering point trophy.

The event ended with the popular prize giving and lucky draw where a large crowd relaxed on the grounds of Fountain Vineyard Church.


Rafi’s Appliances and Mattresses , Builders Warehouse and Adidas sponsored prizes valued at over R40 000, to huge applause from the audience.  Race director, Alan Taylor, said organizing club, Achilles, was very happy with the outcome of the race, which had enjoyed an increase in both runners and spectator support this year.

 January 26, 2014
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