Stephen Mokoka again proved his ability at the highest level on Sunday, outsprinting Kenyan Daniel Salel to win the FNB OneRun 12km race in Cape Town.
Competing over the rarely run 12km distance for the first time in his career, Mokoka clocked 33:34, edging Salel on the line as the Kenyan athlete took the runner-up spot for the second year in a row.
Fellow South African Elroy Gelant, who had helped push the pace up front until the latter stages, took third position in 33:41 against a world-class field which also included defending champion Emmanuel Bett of Kenya and Ugandan athlete Timothy Toroitich.
While Mokoka missed the world best of 33:31 by three seconds, he shattered Matthews Motshwarateu’s 28-year-old SA best by 52 seconds over the unofficial distance.
“With 50 metres to go I felt like I still had something left in the tank, so I pushed hard and went past him (Salel),” Mokoka said.
“I’m very happy to get this victory at home.”
Irvette van Zyl continued to display her fine form, outclassing a strong domestic line-up to win the women’s race in 39:40, though she was well outside the SA best of 38:49 she had targeted, which was set by Elana Meyer in 1999.
Compatriot Lebo Phalula finished second in 40:10, and Rutendo Nyahora of Zimbabwe ended third, a further 21 seconds off the pace.