If ever there was a message of intent, then this is it. The Nedbank Running Club has entered a 55 strong Nedbank Green Dream Team for the Old Mutual Soweto Marathon on Sunday 1 November.
A total of 19 of these athletes have been entered for the big race, the Marathon and there is no doubt that in particular the women’s side of the race will be dominated by the light green colours of the Nedbank Running Club. Mapaseka Makhanya, Selam Abere Alebachew, Zehara Kedir Datu, Shitaye Gemechu Debellu will lead the women’s team and will prove to be difficult to beat.
Debellu is the fastest in the field with a 2:26 marathon time run in 2008 and won the inaugural GJ Zuma Marathon this year. She like Selam Abere Alebachew seems to thrive on the tougher courses and the Old Mutual Soweto Marathon is nothing if not tough, despite the route now being reversed from the original one. Alebachew won this years Mandela Day Marathon, one of the toughest races around, clocking 2:52.28 Mapaseka Makhanya has been nursing an injury and will start conservatively, but she is a class racer and if she is feeling good on the day can be a real threat.
Sufa Chala Damessa, Senbeto Geneti Guteta and Sintayehu Legese Yinesu are three of the men’s entry who will have the opposition worried. All three are from Ethiopia, with Guteta at 18 having already run a 2:17 Marathon in Seville this year. Damessa was 12th in the Dubai Marathon in January this year with a 2:12 time and second at the Mandela Day Marathon (2:28.27). Sintayehu Legese Yinesu is of course the defending champion and will be a tough nut to crack in the day.
The South African challenge in the Nedbank Team will come from Kgosi Tsosane and Africa Mailola. Tsosane feels he has a point to prove after struggling with injury this year. The Old Mutual Soweto Marathon will be only his second Marathon after having finished 5th in the PetroSA Marathon in 2013. Mailola was the second South African across the line in the 2014 Cape Town Marathon.
Sintayehu Legese Yinesu is the defending champion of the Soweto Marathon