14 JUNE 2020

90KM DOWN RUN

History 2016-2018

RACE RESULTS

2016 Down (91st Race)
 Date Sunday, 29 May
 Weather Cool at start. Mild to warm sunshine throughout the day.

 Temperature – Min/ Max:

 
 PMB 6/27
 DBN 12/25
 Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 5:30
 Finish Venue Kingsmead Stadium
 Time Limit 12 Hours
 Official Distance 89.208 kms

 Winner’s Average Speed:

 
 Men 16.830 km/hr (3m 34s /km)
 Women 13.882 km/hr (4m 19s /km)
 Entries 21569
 Starters 16807
 Finishers – Total 14433
 Men 11474
 Women 2959
 Medals – Gold 20
 Wally Hayward 16
 Silver 607
 Bill Rowan 2248
 Bronze 6415
 Vic Clapham 5127
 % Finishers / Starters 85.8


THE MENS RACE

With the finish still 44 kilometres away, one aspect of the race was certain. It was not who would be handed the Mayoral Baton, as the race leader, upon entering Kingsmead Stadium. The vexing question was ‘would the Down Record be broken?’

In the end, the record was not broken… it was destroyed… shattered… trashed.

David Gatebe lowered the previous best, set by Russian, Leonid Shvetsov, by 2m 22s; an inordinate result in an age when records are broken by fractions of a second and, in doing so, he set the bar at a level that may prove to be many years ahead of the next generation of aspirant winners.

Once the city had been left behind, a large group, in which all the big names were present, had already assembled in the vanguard, for the dash across the rollercoaster section between the top of Polly Shortts, through Camperdown and Cato Ridge to the crest of Inchanga. The lead had been changing by the minute as the relentless pace continued down the hill to the halfway mark at Drummond. With three previous winners, Ludwick Mamabolo, Bongmusa Mthembu and Claude Moshiywa just strides behind the leader, Bernard Dandadzi, in the lead group through the midpoint, the only certainty was that anyone could win.

Gatebe ran, almost unnoticed, outside the top fifty as Inchanga loomed, but as he went over the top, he pressed the accelerator and went through the checkpoint in seventh position; 1m 45s adrift of the leader. Within two kilometers, he had moved into the lead and from that moment, the race was over. Such was his dominance, as he ran further away from his chief rivals with every stride, the ‘real race’ turned into the fight for the Silver Medal.

Spectators, at the finish in Durban, sat mesmerised in front of the big screen. Striding unchallenged through Hillcrest, the question at the finish was still ‘will he break the record?’ That question changed as Gatebe exited Field’s Hill and ran into Pinetown. It was now ‘by how much will he beat it?’

In little more than an hour, the question was answered. The record was ripped apart; a performance that, in the years ahead, is likely to be recognised as one of the great Comrades performances.

The fight for second place was a bitter struggle that remained unresolved until the final run into the city when Mamabolo broke away, finishing a shade more than two minutes ahead of Mthembu.

RESULT

1st David Gatebe * South Africa

5h 18m 19s New Best Time Down

2nd Ludwick Mamabolo South Africa 5h 24m 05s
3rd Bongmusa Mthembu South Africa 5h 26m 39s
4th Mike Fokoroni Zimbabwe 5h 35m 09s
5th Rufus Photo South Africa 5h 35m 40s
6th Claude Moshiywa South Africa 5h 36m 25s
7th Siphiwe Ndlela South Africa 5h 36m 56s
8th Max King USA 5h 37m 27s
9th Charles Tijane South Africa 5h 37m 40s
10th Mncedisi Mkhize South Africa 5h 38m 34s

* First Sub-5:20 Down Run

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Claude Moshiywa (41) South Africa 5h 36m 25s
2nd Charles Tjiane (41) South Africa 5h 37m 40s
3rd Marko Mambo (44) Zimbabwe 5h 45m 08s


MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Lazarus Seroka (51) South Africa 6h 42m 47s
2nd Shaun Meiklejohn (55) South Africa 6h 43m 29s
3rd Pienas Magashule (53) South Africa 6h 58m 33s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Johan Nel (62) South Africa 8h 07m 41s
2nd Shalom Levi (61) Israel 8h 18m 21s
3rd Almon Zibuse (65) South Africa 8h 25m 21s

THE WOMENS RACE

There could only be one possible winner.

Caroline Wostmann’s near Up Record in 2015, on a course nearly 900 metres longer than the normal race route – the result of road construction work in Pinetown – and her back-to-back victories in the Two Oceans, made her one of the hottest favourites in a decade.

Despite the unquestioned, and proven, class of those she would be up against – women like Colleen de Reuck and Charne Bosman, the 2015 runner-up – the cognoscenti were adamant; Wostmann had to fail, rather than another having to run way above their known ability, to beat her.

Unlike the men’s race, where the traditional strategy is, for the fancied runners, to hang back and then attack from behind over the closing miles; the women’s race usually sees the leading contenders showing prominently in front, from the outset.

Once the scramble after the start thinned out, Wostmann, always an aggressive front-runner, led the procession out of Pietermaritzburg with Bosman trailing in an ever-lengthening second place. Wostmann’s overwhelming dominance reflected by a lead of 4m 11s, over Bosman, through halfway at Drummond, led spectators at the finish to believe that the winner was already known. This belief was further strengthened when her lead at Pinetown – 20 kilometres from Kingsmead – had stretched to 11m 26s. No one could possibly whittle away more than 30 seconds per kilometer, on the run-in, to cause a major upset; not with a smiling Wostmann flowing so freely.

Cowies Hill, the last major obstacle, loomed and, in the blink of an eye, the complexion of the race changed.

Wostmann was walking up the hill… cramp… the distance-runners number one enemy. She was in trouble, walking and jogging in a painful effort to keep moving. Bosman, on the other hand, was closing, although at Sherwood, a mere 7 kilometres from the finish, she trailed by 8m 23s, a margin that many maintained was still safe for the struggling leader.

Then disaster struck for Wostmann. On the approach to the city centre, in an altercation with a motorcycle-mounted traffic officer, she was knocked to the ground. She struggled to her feet and, on wobbly legs, continued towards Kingsmead.

A few hundred metres further on, Bosman, now in full flight, cruised past. At the finish, Wostmann revealed what a true champion she is. Admitting that the motorcycle incident was a setback, she acknowledged that, although she was still in the lead at the time, she was already beaten and that the mishap had no effect on the final finishing order.

Bosman ran, triumphantly, onto the Kingsmead turf; a clear winner in 6h 25m 55s, slightly less than five minutes ahead of Wostmann.

In the closing stages, away from the television cameras, and oblivious of the drama ahead, Swede, Kajsa Berg, and American, Sarah Bard, contested the Bronze Medal with Berg succeeding by 3m 31s.

RESULT

1st Charne Bosman South Africa 6h 25m 55s
2nd Caroline Wostmann South Africa 6h 30m 44s
3rd Kajsa Berg Sweden 6h 39m 04s
4th Sarah Bard USA 6h 42m 35s
5th Yolande Maclean South Africa 6h 43m 24s
6th Kerry-Ann Marshall South Africa 6h 48m 51s
7th Colleen De Reuck South Africa 6h 50m 21s
8th Fikile Mbuthuma South Africa 6h 56m 32s
9th Julanie Basson South Africa 6h 58m 10s
10th Salome Cooper South Africa 7h 01m 02s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Charne Bosman (40) South Africa 6h 25m 55s
2nd Julanie Basson (41) South Africa 6h 58m 10s
3rd Salome Cooper (40) South Africa 7h 01m 02s


MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Colleen De Reuck (52) South Africa

6h 50m 21s

New Best Time Down

2nd Ricarda Bethke (52) Germany 8h 13m 02s
3rd Tia Jones (50) Australia 8h 14m 21s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Val Watson (60) South Africa 8h 38m 13s
2nd Blanche Moila (60) South Africa 9h 12m 25s
3rd Nancy Will (63) South Africa 9h 31m 00s
2017 Up (92nd Race)
2018 Down (93rd Race)

1921 BILL ROWAN

1923 ARTHUR NEWTON

1930 WALLY HAYWARD

1931 PHIL MASTERSTON-SMITH

1933 HARDY BALLINGTON

1933 MAX TRIM-BOURNEN

1952 TREVOR ALLEN

19353 WALLY HAYWARD

19358 JACKIE MECKLER

1975 ELIZABETH CAVANAUGH

1975 VINCENT RAKABAELE

1979 ALAN ROBB

1983 BRUCE FORDYCE

1984 LINDSAY WEIGHT

1989 FRITH VAN DER MERWE

1989 SAMUEL TSHABALALA

2013 ELENA NURGALIVEA

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