The 30th Forever Resorts Loskop Marathon, taking place on Saturday 16 April 2016, has again attracted a field of over 3 500 athletes that include previous Comrades winners, gold medallists, TV personalities, and a bunch of local and foreign athletes looking to boost their winnings with the R 100 000 incentive for breaking the course record.
The weather forecast for Saturday’s running will please the athletes. The long term prediction is a mostly sunny and warm day, with a light breeze of 6km/h from North-Northwest. A slight chance for thundershowers in spots has been predicted.
The Loskop Ultra is a Comrades Marathon qualifying event and has a similar overall profile to that of The Comrades. The expletives expressed on Varaday’s at Loskop mirror the cursings muttered under limited breath on Polly Shorts. This makes the Loskop Marathon an attractive challenge to both the elite and the run-of-the-pack competitor preparing for Comrades.
POSSIBLE ELITE MEN’S WINNERS
As runners go under the start gun the question is whether the title can be retained in South Africa or whether it will find its way to another African Country. The men’s race will sport previous Loskop Marathon Winners Graham Malinga (2004), Phillip Molefe (2012) and Samuel Moleshioa (2011 Loskop Marathon Winner and 2007 & 2008 Wild Challenge Winner). Other top Contenders to keep an eye out for are 2015 Comrades Champion Gift Kelehe (5 x Comrades Gold Medalist), Charles Tjiane (2 x Comrades Gold Medalist), Raymond Phaladi (2014 Om Die Dam 50km Winner), David Gatebe (2008 42.2km SA Champion and 2013 Two Ocean’s Marathon 56km Champion), Samuel Ongaki (Kenia) (7th 2011 Loskop Marathon and 2015 3rd IAU DOHA 50km World Championships), Shebbas Chirchir (Kenia) (2014 SASOL Sasolburh Marathon Winner), Rufus Photo (Double Comrades Gold Medalist and 2014 3rd Loskop Marathon).
OUTSIDE TOP TEN PREDICTIONS
Potential athletes to look out for that could possibly be placed in the top 10 are Best Ngwenya, Petoro Gaebetse and Phuti Mohale.
Interesting to note is the participation of Phillip Bandawe (Zimbabwe) (2007 Stockholm Marathon Winner with a time of 2:15:51).
The ladies race could prove to be another exciting event to witness unfolding to the finish. Athletes to the likes of current reigning Champion Jennifer Koech (Kenia) (2013 & 2015 Loskop Marathon Winner), Sharon Chinokuya (Zimbabwe) (2016 4th SASOL Sasolburg 42km), Julaine Basson (Triple Comrades Gold Medalist and Multiple Two Ocean’s Marathon 56km Gold Medalist, Lesley Train-Austin (Double Comrades Gold Medalist) and Belinda Waghorn (2009 Comrades Gold Medalist) will be competing for the title.
A most interesting entrant on the day is multi-discipline, low racing star runner in sublime form for the last few years, Yolande Maclean (Loskop Marathon 50km Winner in 2004 & 2005 and also previous record holder in 2003. This lady also sports an impeccable resume in the Comrades Marathon boasting 5 Golds in 5 starts spanning from 2003 till 2007 with a best position of 7th in 2004, 2006 & 2007! She won the extremely testing Deloitte 42.2km in February with a time of 02:50:40 bettering her own record set in 2005 by nearly 5 minutes. This bodes well for Yolande resulting her being in much more formidable shape than the years when she achieved multiple Golds in Comrades. She also sports 4 x Gold Medals in the Two Oceans Marathon between 2003 & 2007.
With many runners using the race for seeding and qualification for the Comrades Marathon, the new upstart Buks van Heerden (running in Nedbank Running Club Vaal Triangle Colours), will no doubt be guiding novices and back runners to a safe 6 hour Comrades qualification time. The cut off time for the race is 7 hours.
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