A bronze medal for the men’s half marathon team at the inaugural World Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia capped a good day on the road for Team South Africa with a few athletes clocking Personal Best(PB) times in their respective races and one running a national record.
National half marathon champion Thabang Mosiako led the way with a personal best time of 59:52 to finish sixth overall in a very competitive race that saw Kenyans occupy all three podium places. Elroy Gelant also ran a PB of 60:56 for a 13th place finish while the grand old man of South African road running, the indefatigable Stephen Mokoka, showed there’s still some speed in those old legs.
Running in his eight World Half Marathon Championships race and toeing the start line as the oldest of the 97 elite men, the 38-year-old dug deep to finish in 11th position as he crossed the line in a Season Best time of 60:29.
The trio’s performance ensured that South Africa grabbed the bronze medal position behind Kenya and Ethiopia in a competition that sees the results of the top three athletes count to the country’s total. South Africa’s overall time was 3:01:17 while Kenya clocked 2:57:43 and Ethiopia’s was 2:59:54.
The women’s team narrowly missed out on the bronze as they finished in fourth place, being beaten by Great Britain whose average time was 3:29:15 while South Africa clocked 3:29:26. As in the men’s race, it was a Kenya and Ethiopia one-two in the team prize, the Kenyans occupying all the podium spots in the individual race.
They too, however, gave the competition their best with Cacisile Sosibo slicing 15 seconds off her previous PB for a 69:31 time that earned her 10th place.
Glenrose Xaba, who used lessons from her maiden world half marathon championships ran in Poland three years ago and stuck with the lead bunch from the onset only to be dropped late in the race, came in 12th place with a tine of 69:47.
Cian Oldknow ran hen race of her life, the 27-year-old confirming her nickname ‘Ms PB’ by running yet another personal best time in clocking an impressive70:08, 40 seconds faster than her previous PB, which saw her occupying 15th place in a race of 72 runners.
South Africa’s other PBS came in the women’s 5km and men’s mile races.
Durbanite Tyla Kavnagh ran a 15;50 for a 15th place finish, a huge improvement on the 16:45 which she ran at the national championships.
Ryan Mphahlele ran bravely as he always does to lead for a while only to be swallowed up by the bunch and ended up finishing in sixth place. Bu the improved his time for the distance to a new PB of 3:57:35.