GALLERY INCLUDED: Mthethwa sets the pace in Graskop

    One of the races with hands down the most beautiful scenery, the annual Build It God’s Window Half-Marathon took place on Saturday. Hosted by Legogote Villagers, the race started and ended at a new venue, Canimambo Restaurant.

    With this, runners didn’t only enjoy the convenience of a nearby restaurant, but also shortened turnaround, leaving one less hill to worry about.
    It was a fairly tough route but the scenery and perfect running weather made up for 282 runners’ strenuous effort. “Where we initially anticipated a poor turnout as a result of the recent cold snap, we actually had a better one than last year,” said the chairman of Legogote Villagers, Andre Vianello.

    A few kilometres out on the R533 towards Graskop, just after the fun runners’ turnaround point, those participating in the 10- and 20-kilometre races, took the turn-off to God’s Window, and here is where the real work began.

    This part of the route saw runners battling against a seven-kilometre climb to the top of the hill. But what goes up must come down so not only did the downhill sections give people a bit of a breather, it also allowed the front runners, who were neck and neck throughout the route, a chance to really release the handbrake.

    Though physically a lot smaller, Nedbank LVCC’s Professor Mthethwa, who had just come off a win at the annual Boulders Marathon at Kaapmuiden, took the half-marathon spoils in a lightning fast 01:13,37. Johardt van Heerden, the runner-up, however, did not hand it over on a silver platter.

    He in fact led the majority of the race, but with about 10 kilometres left Mthethwa put pedal to the mettle and evened the playing field. The latter, however, reserved his energies and emptied the tank in the final stretch, edging Van Heerden with a few seconds.

    Being the sportsmen they are, they congratulated each other for giving each other a run for their money. Sandra Mohaole from Skukuza Marathon Club was the first female to cross the finish line in 1:51,38.

    Also coming off a win at Boulders, Thulani Lukhuleni of Born to Win, again took the spoil in the 10-kilometre race, in just 35,46. He was closely followed by Freedom Makhubela, who finished in 36,46.

    Finishing together, Jean-Marie Viljoen and Conja Ruthven took a respective first and second place, in a time of just over one hour.

    Vianello said the race not only provides the perfect setting for a highly sought-after event, but also breathes life into a precarious Graskop.
    Everyone who finished the race, be it the fun run, or the more serious distances, received a medal.

    Also read: Seven tips to keep you safe while running outdoors

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    Stefan de Villiers
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