Reinhold Iita and Helalaia Johannes won the men and women’s categories respectively at the first leg of the 2011 Old Mutual Victory Races in Keetmanshoop on Saturday.
In the men’s race, Iita and Johannes Naitembu broke away from the pack early on and matched each other stride for stride. Iita however stepped up the pace about a kilometre before the end to eventually finish a comfortable winner.
Iita won in a time of 1:09:08, while Naitembu finished four seconds behind in 1:09:12. Simon Shipongala came third in 1:11:32.
Some of Namibia’s top marathon runners like however were not in action like last year’s overall winner Luketz Swartbooi, Mynardt Kuanivi and Frans Hosea.
Johannes dominated the women’s race from the start. She broke away early on and ran by herself for most of the race to finish in a time of 1:14:55.
Alina Armas from Windhoek came second in 1:21:09, while Beata Naigambo came third in 1:21:57.
The prize money for the winners was N$1 500, N$800 for the runner-up and N$600 for third place.
It was the first time that the Old Mutual Victory Races had been held in Keetmanshoop in seven years and the turnout made it well worthwhile with more than 550 athletes entering for the race. Most of the participants competed in the 5km race with only 40 athletes participating in the 21km race.
The next leg of the Old Mutual Victory Races will take place in Swakopmund on July 14. With the race also serving as the National Half Marathon Championships, a lot of entries can be expected.
[Namibia Sport, Namibia's leading sport magazine first appeared in February 2002. Since then it has appeared on a monthly basis without fail, making it Namibia 's longest running independent magazine to date.]