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Favourites in top form at Sani Stagger 2018

Mthembu and Collett cruise to victory

Mthembu and Collett cruise to victory

Comrades champ Bongmusa Mthembu (pictured above, overtaking Nkosinathi Duma) and ultra-marathon star Lisa Collett were too strong for the rest in sweltering conditions as they claimed the men’s and women’s titles at the Sani Stagger event this past weekend.

Arthur Ford runner Mthembu, who has back-to-back Comrades titles on his CV, erased the memory of his second-place finish to Nkosinathi Duma last year by tearing away on the descent to win by almost four minutes from Duma, with Phillip Shezi finishing third.

Mthembu ran a measured race on the tough ascent from the Sani Pass Hotel to the top of Sani Pass where he turned in second place.


“This race is all about mentality,” he explained. “You can’t rush going up, so I took it easy and kept about 10m behind Nathi (Duma).

“I took him very quickly on the way down. While we are training mates, in a race I want him to know that Bongmusa is a champion!” he said.

The win was a huge confidence booster for Mthembu as he embarks on a new Comrades marathon training regime.

“I am very happy. It is the first big race of my season and really feel like I am on the right track,” said the Bulwer ace.

“The race is starting to attract top athletes from other provinces which makes it very interesting,” he added.

Lisa Collett shrugged off a marathon six days before her maiden Sani Stagger to power to an empathic win in the women’s race. Pictures: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

In the women’s race Lisa Collett, back from representing South Africa at the 100km world championships, was imperious as she cantered home to beat defending champion Natasha Malan by 25 minutes.

“It was tough but really beautiful,” said Collett. “I was worried that having done a tough marathon six days ago (Bluff marathon) it might come back and bite me, but I really enjoyed the stagger today. Maybe using a different group of muscles (helped)!


She added that the camaraderie between the members of the South African team to the 100km world championships had made the run special for her.

“It was so nice being back together with Bongmusa (Mthembu) and Nkosinathi (Duma). I haven’t seen them since we got back from overseas.”

The 21km half marathon, raced from the top of Sani Pass down to the Sani Pass Hotel was convincingly won by Solicitor Manduwa, with Lovemore Chabata and Minenhle Ngcobo distant second and third respectively.

Hillcrest stalwart Alison Wasserfall added another Sani Stagger 21km title to her impressive CV.

More news from the Sani Stagger

The new 38km and 21km trails were well supported and provided an exciting new dimension to the weekend, where the 42km and 21km runs both sold out quickly.

In the tough and technically demanding 38km trail run, Johannesburg athlete Lyle Timm posted a superb time to win by 10 minutes from Mdu Zondi, with Travers Pellew taking third. Apiwe Gaga took the women’s equivalent.

Second placed Mdu Zondi (left) shares a moment with 32km trail run winner Lyle Timm.

“It was a brutal race, but thoroughly enjoyable,” said Timm. “There were two of us at the front until about 28 kays then Mdu (Zondi) popped and that was it! It was really hot out there.”

The challenging 21km trail run title fell to Lethu Mkwanazi in a staggering performance that allowed him a full 20 minutes to catch his breath before congratulating second placed Ian Lawless and the evergreen Deon Braun.

Gina Treleaven won the women’s 21km trail run finishing in a remarkable fifth position overall, beating her husband Ross in the process.

42km Marathon
1 Bongumusa Mthembu 3:13:27
2 Nkosinathi Duma 3:17:05
3 Phillip Shezi 3:19:47
4 Skhumbuzo Dlamini 3:21:49
5 Muzi Madikwa 3:27:39
6 Zamokwakhe Mbanjwa 3:51:26
7 Mbongeni Sosibo 3:52:07
8 Thuso Moseia 3:56:31
9 Mdu Khumalo 4:01:13
10 Mark Michell 4:01:30

1 Lisa Collett 4:21:06
2 Natasha Malan 4:46:23
3 Roxanne Vale 4:51:20
4 Fran Diesel 4:51:47
5 Marina Scholtz 4:51:48
6 Debbie Ivins 4:59:39
7 Desiree Chantal Verwey 4:59:46
8 Jadi Clark 5:08:00
9 Meg Davey 5:15:31
10 Lindsay Koch 5:16:29

Runners in the Sani Stagger take on switchbacks at the start of the gruelling descent from the top.

21km Half Marathon
1 Solicitor Manduwa 1:13:52
2 Lovemore Chabata 1:20:01
3 Minenhle Ngcobo 1:28:31
4 Jeofrey Sosibo 1:34:11
5 Andrew Neal 1:38:25
6 Josh Hackland 1:42:45
7 Martin Ngwenya 1:45:33
8 Tyron Mitchell 1:50:33
9 Eric Cauvin 1:51:11
10 Craig Willment 1:52:15

1 Alison Wasserfall 1:53:01
2 Jeanette Jordan 1:58:03
3 Pierrel Marie-Agnes 1:59:15
4 Ronelle Vermaak 2:14:13
5 Zania Harrison 2:14:13
6 Cyndi-Mae Hadiaris 2:15:36
7 Nicole Wiggill 2:16:23
8 Sandy Cromie 2:18:43
9 Kerry Venniker 2:19:08
10 Catherine Vandepopeliere 2:21:49

38km Trail Run
1 Lyle Timm 4:13:57
2 Mdu Zondi 4:24:24
3 Travers Pellew 4:29:24
4 Willie Brink 5:02:19
5 Che Lue 5:03:42
6 Henk Sweers 5:03:44
7 Jared Rowling 5:18:27
8 Richard Harrison 5:30:17
9 Steven Gossman 5:32:08
10 Greg Temblett 5:39:22

1 Apiwe Gaga 5:19:45
2 Dawn Nunes 5:34:51

21kmTrail Run
1 Lethu Mkhwanazi 2:15:04
2 Ian Lawless 2:38:19
3 Deon Braun 2:45:27
4 Raymond Wagener 2:47:02
5 Ross Treleaven 2:57:31
6 Simon Acutt 2:57:40
7 Brendon Kegel 2:58:17
8 Michael Hind 3:06:30
9 Gregg McDonagh 3:14:05
10 Jason Van Der Linde 3:15:20

1 Gina Treleaven 2:49:10
2 Tracy Ibbetson 3:12:10
3 Jolene Els 3:21:50
4 Susanne Viljoen 3:28:05
5 Whitney Richardson 3:31:02
6 Nicola Maehler 3:38:17
7 Natasha Avni 3:45:41
8 Alexa Brown 3:46:29
9 Odette Geertshuis 3:50:14
10 Taryn Turner 3:52:55
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