Foreign onslaught looking for big pay out at NMB ASA Half Marathon
The Nelson Mandela Bay Athletics South Africa Half Marathon on Saturday 27 July, incorporating the CAA Southern Region Championships, is fast becoming a popular race with international athletes, lured by the substantial prize purse on offer.
A win bags you R80 000, and the total prize purse is R700 000. In addition, all 5km and 21km entrants will be entered into the lucky draw to win a brand new Datsun Go!
This, along with the fast and flat route and stellar organisation, has seen runners from Kenya and Ethiopia cast their eye on the race.
“We are looking to have the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon awarded with Bronze Label status”, says Race Convenor and Founder, Michael Mbambani.
“Our organisation has to be top notch.
“We have the commitment from our sponsors and that allows us to put up the prize money required.
“We are excited that our event is catching the eye of international athletes.”
As the event doubles as the SA Half Marathon Championships and the Southern Region Half Marathon Championships, South Africa’s top athletes will be in the Friendly City on 27 July, including defending Champion Stephen Mokoka, who knows the race will be fast.
“A low 61 is the minimum to win.
“The guys are hungry and I’m watching the likes of Precious (Mashele) and Philani (Buthelezi) and I like what I am seeing.
“Us ‘older’ athletes like Elroy (Gelant) and myself need to be moving on.
“That is why I am now focussing more on the marathon and am in preparation for Doha (World Championships).
“But to defend my title will be very important to me.”
Mokoka had to run hard in 2018 to hold off Nedbank Kenya’s Bernard Bii. Mokoka crossed the line 61:44 with Bii only 2 seconds adrift. In fact the race was one of the closest finishes in many years with the top seven breaking 62 minutes and only 6 seconds separating the top 6!
Bii is back hoping to take line honours this time round and walk away with the first prize pay-out of R80 000.
Joining him are his fellow country-men, David Maru (60:41 PB – Valencia 2013) and George Manyiror who was 16th in 2018 with a time of 63:14. No doubt the Kenyan is looking to shave a big portion off that time; and he will need to if he intends being in the mix for a podium finish.
Nedbank Ethiopia’s Sintayehu Legesse Negehu is also making an appearance. The multiple Soweto Marathon winner is better known for his marathon exploits, but is a tough competitor and if the race becomes tactical, he could pose a challenge.
Of great interest will be the Half Marathon debut of Tadu Teshome (Naru) of Nedbank Ethiopia. The junior has been in scintillating form in 2019, finishing on the podium in all three of Spar Ladies Races of 2019. On two occasions the Junior has run 32:36 with her worst performance a 32:56. While the Half Marathon is new territory for her, Teshome has some speed in her legs and can well be a big danger for the women’s field.
For more information, contact Mike Mbambani on 079 149 6796 or Basil Mclean on 082 467 1949