It was the perfect way to get the inaugural FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN off the ground. A dip on the finish line and missing the world’s best by 1 second.
Kenya’s Emmanuel Bett and Daniel Salel fought to the line with the decision, after much deliberation, going the way of Bett in a time of 33 minutes and 32 seconds (33:32). Salel recording the same time.
In near perfect conditions the race got underway from the start in Milnerton at 9am. The country’s top 10 men and women were contracted to take on the likes of Daniel Salel, Emmanuel Bett, Moses Kipsiro and Vivian Cheruiyot.
It was evident within the first 2km this was to be a hard and fast race. Emmanual Bett, who has run a 27:51.16 for 10 000m, was in no mood for a bunch finish and set a blistering pace from the gun. Within 2km of the start the lead group of twenty plus had been whittled down to eight, Bett setting the pace. Salel running next to him with Kipsiro, Timothy Toroitich , Elroy Gelant, Gladwin Mzazi and Lucky Mohale sitting on their tails.
By 3km Mohale had been blown away. Bett continued to race at 2:47/km (2 minutes 47 seconds) pace which saw first Gladwin Mzazi drop off (around 4km just before the race entered the harbour). Gelant was to fade from the leading pack shortly thereafter, and when Kipsiro dropped just before the halfway mark, it was down to three.
Bett was not going to let off the pace, despite feeling nauseous at around 6km. As they entered Government alley at the top of Adderley Street (9km), there was still no splitting Toroitich, Salel and Bett. 10km was passed in 27:48 and the World Record was on.
Not even the short but sharp climb up Buitengracht Street separated the trio, but that climb lost the leaders some valuable seconds as they chased the record and hunted for the win.
With just over 1km to go Bett and Salel upped the pace and Toroitich fell off. The race for the win went to the line as both Salel and Bett were awarded the time of 33:32, the officials giving Bett the nod – 1 second off the World Record.
Timothy Toroitich finished third, Moses Kipsiro fourth with the first South African home being Elroy Gelant in fifth.
“I’m very happy with my run today,” says Bett. “I have had some injury problems in the last few years, so this show’s me I’m in good shape and getting back to where I was. I will be competing in the Prefontaine Classic on 30 May in the 10 000m and then the Kenyan trials. I want to qualify for the World Championships”.
Gelant was ecstatic after his fifth place. “My hamstring is now all good. This was a hard race. The Kenyans were really flying, but I am very happy”.
The Women’s race saw four-time World Champion and Olympic Silver and Bronze Medallist Vivian Cheruiyot break away just before half way. She crossed the line in 38:32. Yenenesh Tilahun of Ethiopia was second (39:17) with Lebo Phalula the first South African home in (39:21).