Kenya’s Daniel Simiu Ebenyo and Jesca Chelangat proved too strong for a stellar men’s and women’s field at the 2021 Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN on Sunday 21 November, 2021.
Daniel Simiu Ebenyo had come to Cape Town with only one goal in mind, and that was to break the 33:27 World Best of Morris Munene Gachaga set in 2017. The weather gods though were not kind as strong Southerly Wind blew into the faces of the athletes for the first 4km as they left the start at Woodbridge Island in Milnerton. Ebenyo had brought two pacemakers to help him break the Best time. The target was 32:20 which meant a pace of 2:42/km and splits of 13:13 and 27:00 for 5km and 10km respectively.
But while the wind put paid to any record attempt, it did not dampen Ebenyo’s desire for victory. As early as the 3km mark, Ebenyo had dropped his pacemakers, a field which included the defending champion, Morris Gachaga, SA 10km Champion, Precious Mashele and arguably the best road runner in South Africa at present, Stephen Mokoka.
3km was passed in 8:45 and Ebenyo went through 5km in 14:11, some 30 odd seconds ahead of a group that consisted of Mokoka, pacemakers, Meshack Kiptoo Lelgut, Mashele, Melikhaya Frans, Sibusiso Nzima and Collen Mulaudzi who all covered 5km in 14:40.
Mokoka, showing the years of experience and knowing full well that windy conditions mean a tactical race, stuck to his even pacing game plan. So while Ebenyo kept up his solo effort and continued to forge away from the rest of the field, Mokoka was gradually dropping the rest of the field with only Isaac Kipkemboi staying with him.
Ebenyo, a man who has never lost a 10km race in his career and who boasts a best time of 27:12 for the 10km distance, came flying home in 34:01. Behind him Mokoka and Kipkemboi were embroiled in their own battle with the Kenyan breaking away in the final kilometre down Long Street to finish in second place in 34:42 and Mokoka taking third some three seconds later (34:45).
Ebenyo was smiling after his victory, having just pocketed R25 000 for his efforts. The 26-year-old knew he had the race in the bag early on even with what many thought was a suicidal breakaway. “I am used to running alone,” said the Kenyan, “and was not concerned about having to race all alone. Not even the wind at the beginning was a problem for me.”
Meanwhile in the women’s race, Jesca Chelangat waited until the final 2km before making her decisive move for victory. From the gun it was a group of six that took the lead, including Chelangat, compatriot, Diana Chesang, Lesotho’s Neheng Khatala, Irvette van Zyl, Glenrose Xaba and Kesa Molotsane. Around 4km into the race, the two Kenyan’s upped the pace and only Xaba and Khatala were able to go with them as 5km came and went in 17:20.
By 6km Xaba had to give way to and from there ran in no-man’s land. While Chesang, Chelangat and Khatala continued their three-way battle, before Chesang also succumbed to the gradual increase in pace driven by Chelangat and Khatala.
Chelangat surged as they went through the Company Gardens around 10km into the race and surged again in the final kilometre to break the gutsy Lesotho athlete, Neheng Khatala to cross the line in 40:01 with Khatala taking the runner up spot (40:15) and Chesang rounding out the top three (40:25). Glenrose Xaba was first of the South African’s running 40:59 to take a 90 seconds off her previous best 12km time.
“I was confident of the win,” said Chelangat. “I knew I was in great shape after running 32:18 for 10km in Kapsowar, Eldoret (2000m above sea level), so I was confident I could take the title.”
“The 2021 Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN has delivered on all the excitement from the start through to the grand finish line. We have seen the world’s best athletes, our elderly participants to our social runners enjoying the best of Cape Town. The Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series has delivered an exceptional showcase of what our cities offer as well as what we as Absa can continue to grow while impacting the communities we operate in. A massive congratulations to all of the runners and walkers that took part in today’s spectacular Absa Cape Town 12K CITYRUN, we look forward to welcoming them back, in even bigger numbers, in the near future,” says John Tshabalala, Absa Managing Executive Relationship Banking Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
“We had a fantastic day today,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports and Founder of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series. “We were limited to 4000 runners (due to the pandemic), hopefully next year May we will be allowed to welcome 15 000 runners to the start line. A big congratulations to Daniel and Jesca on their amazing performances. They have to come back in 2022 to defend their titles. The wind today prevented Daniel from reaching the World Best, but we have no doubt that he can do it. All our sponsors are focused on taking the series to the next level in 2022. There will be more opportunities for athletes and people of South Africa to run across various cities in SA. We look forward to going bigger and better.”
EVENT INFORMATION: 2021 Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN
The Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN started at Woodbridge Island Milnerton and ended in Lower Long Street, Cape Town (CBD).
CHARITY SUPPORT: When entering the event online runners could choose to support five local charities: Die Burger Kinderfonds, Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Cotlands, help2read and Reach for a Dream.
Absa Group is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups.
Absa Group offers an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance.
Absa operates in fourteen countries. The Group owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Absa Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia and has insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. Absa also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria, and securities entities in the United Kingdom and the United States.
For further information about Absa Group Limited, please visit www.absa.africa
About the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series
A proudly South African mass participation road running series, the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series has been revolutionizing the sport since 2015. A road running celebration like no other, the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series comprises three unique events namely the Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN (launched in 2015), the Absa DURBAN 10K CITYRUN (launched in 2017) and the Absa JOBURG 10K CITYRUN (launched in 2016).
A diverse road running series, the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series integrates businesses, families, investment in community, world class achievement and fun for all participants.
For further information please visit https://runyourcityseries.com/