Defending champion Luthando Hejana, from Mdantsane, showed his liking for the SPAR Family Challenge when he took his third title in a row in the 9.8km race in East London on Saturday.
Undeterred by a fresh easterly breeze at the start at the Beaconhurst Sports Grounds, the 29-year-old was able to consolidate his status as the only runner to have won the men’s race since its inception in 2014.
Hejana, who runs for Born 2 Run, coasted home in 37 minutes 28 seconds, beating Bulelani Mgubo (38:03) of All Stars and Monwabisi Siqwayi (39:54) of Zubenothi Sports Developers to the finish line.
Hanlie Botha (43.07) made it a double for Born 2 Run in the women’s race, finishing comfortably ahead of privateer Luyanda Matiwona (48.40) and defending champion Andrea Ranger (50:28) of Old Selbornians.
Hejana, one of Border’s leading runners, said he had his sights set on a third win and was happy that he could pull it off.
“The race went very well, even though the wind was blowing into us at the start. When we turned at the beach it was better and I came back feeling good and felt strong at the end.”
With a slight change to the route, Hejana was not able to challenge his course record of 36.09 from last year, but was pleased with his efforts.
“I enjoyed the race. There were lots of people cheering me on from the start to the end and it was also good to support the Reach for a Dream Foundation.”
SPAR Eastern Cape chose the foundation as their beneficiary to help them in their quest of making a child’s dream come true on a daily basis.
The retailer’s regional promotions and advertising manager Wendy Westraadt said they were delighted with the support they had received from the East London community.
She said around 850 runners signed up for the two races that were aimed at providing an avenue for a healthy lifestyle in a family environment, while also giving back to the community.
“We are so happy to be able to support a charity like Reach for a Dream,” said Westraadt.
“It is such a worthy cause and we thank the East London people for supporting us as they always do.
“The weather finally played along and it was a very successful day. We loved being here to give something back to the Border region.”
The men’s and women’s 5km races were won by Malixole Kolideni (22:23) of Old Selbornians and Liyema Tele (24:18) of Gwaba Combined School respectively.
Kolideni, who was runner-up in the 9.8km last year, was thrilled with his victory.
“It was a very good race, quite tough and a bit windy. The hills towards the end tested us but I was very happy with the win,” he said.
1. Luthando Hejana (Born 2 Run) 37:28
2. Bulelani Mgubo (All Stars) 38:03
3. Monwabisi Siqwayi (Zubenothi Sports Developers) 39:54
4. Simphiwe Majiki 41:14
5. Makaya Masumpa (Born 2 Run) 42:02
6. Sipho Mejane 42:17
7. Xolile Mashicila (Overtakers Sports Club) 42:28
8. Tembisie Vakele (Eskom Athletic Club) 43:43
9. Hlumelo Makubalo (Real Gijimas) 44:28
10. Luxolo Shushu 45:15
1. Hanlie Botha (Born 2 Run) 43:07
2. Luyanda Matiwona 48:40
3. Andrea Ranger (Old Selbornians) 50:28
4. Jaime Griffiths (Born 2 Run) 51:22
5. Zandile Rubushe (Mdantsane AC) 51:51
6. Lindy Vermeulen (Old Boys) 59:54
7. Kirsten Forsyth (Old Selbornians) 1:02:00
8. Nomvuyo Haminson (Real Gijimas) 1:05:09
9. Suzette Krause (Oxford Striders) 1:05:59
10. Thandokazi Hlinza (MBSA Running Club) 1:07:50
1. Malixole Kolideni (Old Selbornians) 22:23
2. Mbuyiseli Mema 22:50
3. Desmond Witbooi (Born 2 Run) 23:19
4. Siyamthanda Klaas 23:43
5. Anawo Gamlana 23:44
1. Liyema Tele (Gwaba Combined School) 24:18
2. Elroy Matthews 25:26
3. Giselle Pauls 26:25
4. Aviwe Tele 28:06
5. Avuyonke Pellem (Gwaba Combined School) 28:08