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Lesotho juggernaut hits Soweto

Soweto Marathon

Soweto Marathon

Can anyone prevent Lesotho from once again claiming the men’s title at the 2011 Soweto Marathon on Sunday 6 November? That is the question that is currently being asked.

In truth the squad from Lesotho will be a tough nut to crack, with the winners of the race since 2007 lining up on Sunday. It will be difficult to predict who of the group of Motlokoa Mkahbutlane, Lebenya Nkoka, Teboho Sello, Mabuthile Lebopo and Moeketsi Mosuhli will be the favourite, although if one were to choose, it would probably be Mabuthile Lebopo with two wins under his belt.

Lebopo won in 2004 and again in 2009. Lebopo is not the fastest marathoner around (PB of 2:13;42 at the SA Championships in 2009), but he clearly relishes the hard and tough courses having twice won the race, finished runner up in 2009 and 6th in 2010 behind compatriot Lebenya Nkoka. Further evidence of Lebopo’s strength is his win in the 2010 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.

Teboho Sello won in 2007 and finished 2nd in 2010 and placed 3rd at the Two Oceans Marathon in 2010. Lebenya Nkoka has been in the top 10 of the Soweto Marathon since 2004 and Moeketsi Mosuhli has finished top 5 twice at the Two Oceans Marathon, was 4th at the 2010 Soweto Marathon, won the race in 2008 and has a marathon best of 2:14;03 which he ran in Durban in 2008. All in all the Lesotho squad will take some doing.

South Africa’s best hope seems to lie in the hands of former National Marathon Champion, Coolboy Ngamole. With a marathon best of 2:14;29 run at the national championships in George this year, Ngamole may have the speed (10km PB of 28:45 and 21.1km of 62:11), but the squad from Lesotho will firstly be running as a pack and secondly do have the advantage of having trained at higher altitude and over very mountainous terrain in Lesotho. Ngamole will be tested, especially in the later half of the race which is predominantly uphill.

Zimbabwe’s Moses Njodzi is also a dangerman after having won the Two Oceans Ultra in 2006 and a 3rd place finish at the 2009 City to City Marathon.

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