SANDILE Ngunuza warmed up for the Comrades with a fine victory in perfect weather at The Herald Rafi's Friendly City Marathon at Altona Primary School on Saturday.
Ngunuza, of Nedbank Running Club, who won in a time of two hours, 29 minutes and 11 seconds, cited his preparation for the Comrades as the reason for his smooth performance. He has been recovering from an injury and only started training seriously in November.
Zolile Mhlahlo, of Triangle Sports, was second in 2:38:49, with Kgotso Majara, of Futurelife Adidas, third in 2:43:11.
Ntombesintu Mfunzi had a big lead in the women's event and finished effortlessly in 3:19:02.
"I enjoyed the route, the race was well organised and the support along the route was amazing," Mfunzi said.
Davera Magson, of Nedbank Running Club, back in form after the birth of her son, came second with a time of 3:09:35. Suzaan Kruger, of Outeniqua Harriers, finished third in 3:32:45.
In the men's 10km event, Zolani Ngqaqa, of Futurelife Adidas, successfully defended the title he won in 2012 in a time of 31:23. "The course from Altona is flat and fast which I really enjoyed," Zolani said.
George Ntshiliza, of Nedbank Running Club, finished in second place, as he did last year, in a time of 31:30, followed by Mariano Eesou, of Absa NMMU, in 32:36.
The first woman to finish the 10km was Deliwe Nyanga, of Nedbank Running Club, in 42:16, followed by Janette Schierz-Crusius, of Body Concept, in 44:15.
Laura Maritz, of Elite Athletics Club, came third, in 44:28.
Andre Goede was the first man home in the 5km fun run, while Natasha de Villiers was the first woman to finish the 5km.
Jaco Smit, of Retina SA, won the 5km Corporate Challenge which was introduced this year in aid of the event's beneficiary, Retina SA.
Selwyn Willis, of Bay FM, and Ilse Carstens, representing Retina SA, handed out 30 prizes – mostly from Rafi's Appliances – valued at R40000.
Aurecon won the best watering point trophy.
Race director Wayne Mitchell said organising club Achilles were happy with the outcome of the race, which had enjoyed an increase in both runners and spectator support this year.