BackPage – SA Half Marathon Championships overview:

The SA Half Marathon Championships was certainly a mouth-watering affair bringing the road running community some long awaited excitement. 
All roads led to friendly/windy city which has changed it’s name to one which most people would have struggled to pronounce. Gqeberha!

The Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon incorporating the ASA Half Marathon Championships had two amazing races lined-up for the men and women. 
The men’s race had defending champion and the recent SA Half Marathon record holder, Stephen Mokoka who was the favourite to win the race. 
Mashele was also lined up in the race as one of the main contenders especially after winning the 5000m title at the SA Track & Field Championships. 
Mbuleli Mathanga is another of those in-form athletes from Kwa-Zulu Natal who recently won the SA 10 000m title and many PB (personal best) times under 
his belt already in 2021.   Besides the strong SA line up there was also the likes of Ethiopian, Asmamawu Diro and Felix Kibitok who were both in the mood to 
spoil the South African party.

The women’s race was also set to be a very tough race which would see the South Africans go head-to-head. One of the obvious names to look out for was the 
inform Gerda Steyn who had recently broken the SA Marathon record, and Irvette van Zyl who also ran under 2:29 (two hours and twenty-nine minutes) in the same 
Marathon to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Another athlete who was an obvious favourite was the ever-dangerous Glenrose Xaba who was recently 
crowned the SA 10 000m title in Pretoria. Xaba would be looking to defend her title from 2019 and being in the form of her life it would be hard to stop her. 
The South Africans would be joined by a strong field of athletes from all over Africa including: Brillian Kipkoech from Kenya who would be the biggest threat to the 
South African women, other athletes included the ever dangerous, Helalia Johannes from Namibia, Alemaddis Sisay and Tadu Nare from Ethoipia. These 
international athletes were drawn to the race as the Half Marathon was a World Athletics Elite Label Status event.

Men’s Race:

As expected in the men’s race Stephen Mokoka was dominating proceedings and when he eventually made a break-away. 
It looked like Mokoka had timed his surge at the right time as he usually does but Mashele was relentless and wouldn’t let him go. 
With just under a km to go Mashele was on his heels and would soon time his kick to perfection motoring to the line with Mokoka 
not have a response to this. 


1.Precious Mashele - CGA - 1:01:17

2.Stephen Mokoka- AGN - 1:01:24

3.Mbuleli Mathanga- KZNA - 1:01:25

4.Felix Kibitok - Kenya - 1:01:28

5.Adam Lipschitz- KZNA- 1:01:31

6.Pheeha Mokgobu- CGA -"1:01:34

7.Sibusiso Kubheka - KZNA- 1:01:35

8.Asmamawu Diro - Ethiopia- 1:01:41

9.Reghen Magwai - AGN- 1:01:55

10.Paulos Daniel - Namibia- 1:02:17

Women’s Race:

In the women’s race Brillian Kipkoech was in excellent form and she remained comfortable as she dominated the race. 
She made a strong break-away and not one could respond as she pursued a solo run to the line. It was a comfortable win for her
in the end winning with over a minute ahead of Ethiopian, Alemaddis Sisay.Glenrose Xaba would be the first South Africa to cross 
the line in 5th place which also granted her a second national title for 2021. The Second South African would be Gerda Steyn followed 
by Irvette van Zyl. This would wrap up proceedings at the SA Half Marathon Championships in Gqeberha.


1.Brillian Kipkoech - Kenya -1:07:32

2.Alemaddis Sisay - Ethiopia - 1:08:04

3.Tadu Nare - Ethiopia- 1:09:09

4.Helalia Johannes- Namibia- 1:09:25

5.Glenrose Xaba - AGN - 1:09:30

6.Beji Geletu - Ethiopia- 1:11:00

7.Fortunate Chidzivo - Zimbabwe- 1:11:01

8.Sarah Naibei - Kenya - 1:11:51

9.Gerda Steyn- CGA - 1:12:13

10.Irvette van Zyl - AGN - 1:12:54

Written by Themba Madima