Local runners dominate Pirates Half Marathon

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Leemisa Thuseho

VETERAN runner, Lebenya Nkoka, was on Sunday crowned the champion of the 2022 Pirates Half Marathon in Johannesburg.

Nkoka finished the 21km race in 1:08:31 while his compatriots, Jobo Khatoane and Teboho Noosi settled for second and third clocking 1:08:53 and 1:09:59 respectively.

South African, Elvis Tau (1:10:48), finished fourth.

Nkoka told the Lesotho Times this week that the race was extremely competitive as it featured several top runners from South Africa and Lesotho.

“The race was good but very competitive,” Nkoka said.

“So, winning in such a competition makes me happy given that it was my first race this year. I last raced in December 2021. It is always good to start on a high note as that will motivate me.”

The runner also said he was not willing to represent the country in any event on account of the government’s lack of support for athletes.

“We have been without races for the past two years because of Covid-19. So, we are hoping for the best this year.

“I am not yet sure of the big races that I will feature in this year. But as for representing the country, that is not in my plans. The government is not doing nothing to help us during the preparations and qualifications,” Nkoka said.

On his part, Khatoane said he was also happy with his recent performance having made it into the top three of all races this year.

“I had a good race and finished strongly but there is still room for improvement.

“I want to secure a few oversees races and that will require good times. However, there is nothing to complain about; I have been very consistent.”

Khatoane’s first race was the Dischem Pharmacies Half Marathon in Johannesburg where he finished third.

He later went on to win the 2022 Kearsney Striders Half Marathon in Pinetown, KwaZulu Natal (KZN) end of last month. In his third race, three weeks ago, he won silver in the Pinetown & District Athletics Club (PDAC) 25km race.

 

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