WINDHOEK – Namibia’s empress of long distance running Helalia Johannes on Saturday delivered a sterling performance to outclass a strong field of equally prodigious runners to win the 21-km half marathon of the prestigious Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town.
Johannes clocked a remarkable time of 01:10:29 to claim top honours in the highly competitive half marathon, and was closely followed by Zimbabwe’s Betha Chikanga in second place with her time of 01:14:28 while Fortunate Chidzivo, also from Zimbabwe, took third place with her time of 01:15:38.
At an advanced age of 38 and still paddling on a remarkable international career spanning over 14 years, Johannes continues to cement her name in long distance racing and remains a force to be reckoned with in Southern Africa and continentally.
With Saturday’s victory, Johannes picked up where she left off last year as 2018 saw her winning gold at the Commonwealth Games when she won the women’s 42, 2 km marathon in a time of 2:32:40 seconds.
Last year Johannes also won the grueling Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in a course record time of 2:29:28. She remains Namibia’s leading female marathoner and has represented the country continentally and internationally at multiple major competitions such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics, Military World Games, Commonwealth Games and numerous All-Africa Games.
In Saturday’s 21 km men’s half marathon, South Africa’s Elroy Gelant took first place with his time of 01:03:19 and Lesotho’s Jobo Khatoane came in second with his time of 01:03:30 and Stephen Mokoko of South Africa finished third with 01:03:36.
The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon has earned a reputation as the world’s most beautiful marathon. It was first held in 1970 and saw 26 runners line up to face the unknown challenge. Since then, the race has become a national institution and a firm favourite with local, upcountry, and international athletes partaking.
Participants can choose from various distances – the scenic 56km ultra marathon or popular 21km half marathon and the 5km or 2.5km fun runs. The event attracts close to 26 000 participants across all the distances and provides them with a mixture of breathtaking scenery, a grueling test of fitness for both the elite and recreational runner, and an unrivalled race organisation and atmosphere.