Fish River marathon tests participants

Fltr: Linda Dokes, one of South Africa’s top extreme marathon runners; Athanasius Muronga, Namibian ultra-distance runner; South African ultra-marathon specialist, AJ Calitz; and Great Britain’s, Georgina Ayre. WL Fish ultra marathon

This year’s edition of the 2015 Windhoek Light Fish River Ultra Marathon attracted 53 entrants, well up from last year’s number of just over 40. Only five athletes failed to finish despite the hot and loose conditions while the last two athletes to cross the finishing line at Ai-Ais still made it three and a half hours before the cut-off time.

Namibian Athanasius Muronga produced the performance of his life this past weekend when he won the 65 kilometre race of the Windhoek Light Fish River Canyon Marathon in glorious fashion.
Muronga from Noordoewer on the Orange River claimed back-to-back titles in the ‘lite’ version of the event in a time of 6h 24m and 39.46 seconds, an incredible hour and five minutes faster than his winning time in 2014 and also a new record for this event which started in 2011.
Muronga’s win continued Namibia’s dominance in the 65 kilometre section of the marathon after the first three were also won by local runners. Ingram van Heerden made it a 1-2 for Namibia with a second consecutive second place, finishing in 8 hours 26 minutes and 13 seconds, just over two hours behind Muronga.
In the 100 kilometre event Cape Town’s Charmaine Salvage produced the run of her life to win in 11 hours 54 minutes and 14 seconds. The mother of two was just 4 minutes slower than last year’s winning and record time set by Linda Dokes, one of South Africa’s top extreme marathon runners. The 65 kilometre event was won by Great Britain’s Georgina Ayre in 8 hours 45 minutes and 45 seconds.
In the 100 kilometre event South African ultra-marathon specialist AJ Calitz fell short of his goal to break Ryan Sandes record of 6 hours 57 minutes. He said, “I would have wanted to break Ryan’s record but I just couldn’t get into my stride today. The heat made it difficult and when I was 25 minutes down on my target at Koedoesdrift I knew it was going to be very difficult to make up time over the last 30 kilometres. But I am still happy with my performance, this remains one of my favourite events just because of the incredible surroundings we get to do this event in.”
Race organiser Thinus Hansen from African Extreme Promotions said this was the most successful event to date. Ian Stevenson, Events Manager of NBL added, “This event just keeps growing and we are proud of the Namibian participants this year and, of course, all other entrants.”