Mbanjwa too strong for Shezi at Run the Rivers

Mbanjwa too strong for Shezi at Run the Rivers

Underberg – Five time Euro Steel Run the Rivers trail run race winner Phillip Shezi has a lot of work to do on Sunday to make it six of the best after he lost nine seconds to Bongani Mbanjwa on the opening stage on Saturday.

Ideal, overcast and slightly warm conditions greeted 700 runners at the start of Day 1 at the Olde Duck just outside Underberg on Saturday morning.

Ahead lay 21 kilometres of challenging conditions but there was a great atmosphere among runners and their supporters.

Five-time men’s winner Shezi was keen to stamp his authority on the race once more, but he came up against a determined Mbanjwa who pipped him to the post in 1:28:47. Shezi was hot on his heels, a mere nine seconds behind in 1:28:56, with Shaun King a little over a minute further back in third (1:30:09).

King was with the leading bunch early on but fell back on one of the early hills, allowing Shezi and Mbanjwa to tussle for the day’s spoils. It sets up a perfect second 18km day on Sunday, where Shezi will no doubt call on and use his experience to claim his sixth title.

Kerry-Ann Walton made a welcome return to the race after missing last year through injury, claiming the women’s day one honours in 1:35:51. Hailing from Pietermaritzburg, Walton won the race in 2022 and took the lead from the start. She has a useful lead over second placed Tarryn Lopez (1:42:09) with last year’s winner Janneke Leask (1:46:54) in third.

“This is my favourite race and I picked up a good pace early on, running with a guy who kept the rhythm going,” she said. “The legs were strong but, being at altitude and where the air is thinner, the lungs complained a bit but I enjoyed it.”

“The course is well marked and marshalled but I found it useful being able to download the map to my runner’s watch. It’s the first time I have ever done that and it helped a lot,” she said.

Day two of the Euro Steel Run the Rivers starts and finishes at the Olde Duck, on the Drakensberg Gardens Road, at 7am on Sunday.

Leading Results
1 Bongani Mbanjwa 01:28:47
2 Phillip Shezi 01:28:56
3 Shaun King 01:30:09
4 Gareth Marquiss 01:31:26
5 Ezra Robertson 01:33:43
6 David Lamont 01:35:57
7 Andrew Erasmus 01:36:35
8 Joshua Balfour 01:38:15
9 Peter Jacobs 01:39:06
10 Christian Brand 01:44:48

1 Kerry-Ann Walton 01:35:51
2 Tarryn Lopez 01:42:09
3 Janneke Leask 01:46:54
4 Amanda Hawke 01:50:40
5 Amy Mathew 01:53:29
6 Mireia Bruni 01:56:48
7 Melanie Van Rooyen 01:57:49
8 Simone Barrett 01:58:36
9 Chloë Veness 01:58:37
10 Pauline Painting 02:03:10

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Instagram