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Andile Motwana and Refeloe Solomons led from start to finish in near-perfect conditions to win the men’s and women’s races at the inaugural Madibaz half-marathon in Gqeberha on Saturday. 


Refeloe Solomons, left, and Andile Motwana of the Nedbank Running Club were crowned champions of the inaugural Madibaz half-marathon hosted by Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha on Saturday. Photo: Full Stop Communications

Motwana found the flat course to his liking and, after his trademark fast start, went on to break the tape at the Madibaz Stadium on Mandela University’s South Campus in 1:06:53.

In the process, the 26-year-old from Kariega wedged open a gap of almost three minutes to star Eastern Province campaigner Melikhaya Frans, who took silver in 1:09:51.

Thabang Mosiako finished one second further back to claim the final spot on the podium.

Solomons controlled the women’s race throughout to take line honours in 1:26:39. The Missionvale athlete was just under half a minute faster over the 21.1km than Kayla Nell (1:27.03), with Lindie Steyn a close third (1:27.25).

Motwana (Nedbank) was delighted with what he described as “a memorable outing” and it was no surprise when he shot to the head of affairs from the outset.

“I went out alone and set the pace for the others to chase me,” he explained. “I don’t really like to be behind so I often start fast and then leave it up to the rest of the field to catch me if they can.”

Motwana said the course, which wound its way to the Noordhoek Ski Boat Club via Marine Drive and back, suited his style down to the ground and he was pleased with the result.

Solomons’ strategy was to start at a four-minute pace and slowly strangle the life out of her opponents.

“I came today to test myself to see if that pace was possible and at the beginning I felt very light and comfortable,” the 42-year-old said.

She admitted to taking a bit of a dip at around the 6km mark but, after releasing the throttle slightly, managed to recover and regain her rhythm.

“It was a great run in the end.”

The Nedbank runner said her closest rivals came to within touching distance on several occasions.

“Every now and then they would pull back up to me, but each time I was able to keep up my strength.”

She knew they used a lot of energy to close the gap and took advantage of the fact to re-establish her advantage each time.

The veteran ran a PB of 37:40 in the Love To Run 10km earlier this season and is evidently in the form of her life.

She moved from Aliwal North to the Friendly City in 2021 to further her running career.

“I came to run the N1 City marathon and decided to stay,” she said.

“I’m very happy and blessed to have taken the first place. At my age, any success is good.”

Bongani Banda won the men’s 10km in a blistering 32:13. The evergreen George Ntshiliza finished 18 seconds behind, with Sinethemba Mirele a further five seconds back in third.

The women’s title went to Dane Cronje (41:55) ahead of Comfort Appiah (42:09) and Mabidaz’s Asanda Zamisa (42:50).

Madibaz Sport athletics manager Bernard Petersen said they were thrilled with the first event, which drew 775 runners over the combined half-marathon and 10km distances.

Staff, students and members of the community worked together to get the show on the road and the runners over the line without any mishaps.

“The occasion exceeded our expectations,” Petersen said afterwards.

The University’s athletics boss said the organising team were now looking forward to making it a permanent fixture on the EP road-running calendar, naturally with the aim of improving on the benchmark set this weekend.



Men: 1 Andile Motwana (Nedbank) 1:06:53, 2 Melikhaya Frans (Ikhamva) 1:09:51, 3 Thabang Mosiako (Nedbank) 1:09:52

Women: 1 Refeloe Solomons (Nedbank) 1:26:39, 2 Kayla Nell (Charlo) 1:27:03, 3 Lindie Steyn (Midack) 1:27:25


Men: 1 Bongani Banda (Chillie EP) 32:13, 2 George Ntshiliza (Nedbank) 32:31, 3 Sinethemba Mirele (Nedbank) 32:36

Women: 1 Dane Cronje (Charlo) 41:55, 2 Comfort Appiah (ACT) 42:09, 3 Asanda Zamisa (Madibaz) 42:50

Contact information
Mr Riaan Osman
Deputy Director
Tel: 041 504 2170