Ethiopian athletes, Asefa Mengstu Negewo and Betelhem Moges Chernet, win the men and women titles, respectively, of the 2017 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in South Africa.

(IAAF)―Asefa Mengstu Negewo came back to the marathon that launched him onto the international stage in 2016 and destroyed a quality field to successfully defend his title at the SANLAM Cape Town Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (17).

Running in a lead pack of six athletes that included Ketema Bekele Negasa, race favourite Laban Mutai, Duncan Maiyo and South Africa’s Xolisa Tyali, Negewo went through 10 kilometers in 30:18, some 13 seconds behind pace maker Henry Kiplagat.

Kiplagat proceeded to pour on the pace and by halfway had extended his lead to 34 seconds over the chasing pack. Kiplagat went through to the half marathon mark in 1:04:29 with the pack clocking 1:05:03.

By 30 kilometres, the pack was chasing down Kiplagat and had whittled his lead down to nine seconds with Asefa Mengstu driving the bus. At 35-k, the 32-year-old Ethiopian threw down the gauntlet and pulled away from his rivals to cross the line in 2:10:01.

Men’s Top Results
1. Asefa Mengstu Negewo (ETH) 02:10:01
2. Ketema Bekele Negasa (ETH) 02:11:06
3. Duncan Kipkurui Maiyo (KEN) 02:11:26

Women’s Top Results
1. Betelhem Moges Chernet (ETH) 02:30:22
2. Helalia Johannes (NAM) 02:30:28
3. Agnes Jepkemboi Kiprop (KEN) 02:31:00

“Defending my title was important to me. I am really happy to be able to defend my title as this race put me on the map,” said Asefa. “I was hoping for a faster time, I wanted to break my course record (2:08:42) but there was a bit of wind between 11 and 18 kilometers which slowed us down, and the guys didn’t want to work together. So if things go well I would like to come back next year and try and win the race for the third time and break my course record.”

Continue reading this story at IAAF
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