Standard marathon specialist Irvette van Zyl stepped up in distance in style on Sunday, setting a new 50km world best in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.
Competing at the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers race, Van Zyl won the women’s event in 3:04:23 banking R100 000 cash for the win and an extra R150 000 for breaking the world record.
She took nearly three minutes off the previous record of 3:07:20 set by Alyson Dixon of Great Britain in Brasov, Romania in September 2019.
Lilian Chemweno of Kenya took second place in 3:05:00 and Dominika Stelmach of Poland was third in 3:10:26.
In the men’s race, Ethiopian athlete Ketema Negasa took the win in 2:42:07 to cash a total of R250 000 for the win and record.
He obliterated the global best of 2:43:38 which was set by South African athlete Thompson Magawana in Cape Town in April 1988.
Jonas Makhele was the first South African, finishing second overall in 2:42:14, and countryman Ntsindiso Mphakathi ended third in 2:42:56.
“We are very happy about today’s event, which has been well organised, especially with Covid creating many challenges,” said ASA Chairperson of Road Running Commission, Enoch Skosana.
“We are also pleased to have Nedbank coming on board and it’s very exciting to have our top athletes racing again.”
James Moloi, the President of ASA was equally excited: “This has been a total success. Our excitement is beyond words.
“This is really is a unique event which we are confident it will grow into a mega brand in the future and post Covid 19. We thank Nedbank, Eastern Province Athletics and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro for all the work done to achieve what we have today.”