Distance runner Stephen Mokoka broke the world record of 50 km on Sunday at the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers ultramarathon in Gqeberha.
Mokoka covered the distance, running in five 10km loops on Marine Drive, in 2:40:13 to become the world record holder in what was his ultra-marathon dog debut. The first 35 km he was tempered by local athlete Melikhaya Frans.
“It’s tough, I’m happy, it’s a long race,” Mokoka said afterwards.
“I spoke to some of the other guys (during the race) and asked if I should push, am I still okay? These guys are used to those distances.”
Asked about Gqeberha, where Mokoka has won eight out of ten races, he said too much laughter: “I see the mayor is here, he has to get me a house. It’s great racing here.”
Tete Dijana and Edward Mothibi finished second and third in the men’s race.
“After the success of the first ultramarathon in 2021 and after months of planning, I stuck my neck out to say that we would break a record for the second time, and that is exactly what we did today,” said race director and Nedbank Running Club National Manager, Nick Bester.
“We took lessons from last year and checked every box to ensure all procedures and rules were followed for our race to meet World Athletics standards.”
In the women’s race, Irvette van Zyl missed the world record she set at the same event last year.
After a quick start, Van Zyl (third) and Kenyan athlete Shelmith Muriuki (second) fell off the count, giving Amelework Bosho the win in a time of 3:04:58, just outside Van Zyl’s time of 3:04:24 previous year set.