OLYMPIC marathon runner Lusapho April helped defending champions Gamble Pharmacy smash their 21km course record by more than 2½ minutes in the first race of the Investec Night Relay series in Port Elizabeth.
Uitenhage-born April set a blistering pace of just over three minutes a kilometre on the first lap around the North End Lake last week to edge his five-man team towards victory and a new record of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 56 seconds.
NSRC Warriors chased hard for the runners-up spot, finishing in 1:10:10, with the NMMU Young Guns just 10 seconds further back in third.
The Investec 3 team proved too strong for their opposition in the mixed category, coming home in 1:18:27. Ernst & Young and Aspen finished second and third respectively.
It was also one for the books in the walking category, with the Rawstron family team setting a record pace of 1:27:52 over the 12.6km course.
Race organiser Michael Zoetmulder, of Zports, said: "We were very privileged to have our former national marathon champion here.
"Lusapho was also the first South African home at the London Olympic marathon last year."
Zoetmulder expects entries by corporate teams to double ahead of the second race on April 4.
"Because each lap is just 4.2km, the event is achievable for even social runners and walkers."
Lucky draws, entertainment, food stalls and a beer garden add to the atmosphere, Zoetmulder says. It also provides a healthy alternative networking opportunity for businesses in the metro.