Windhoek-A new national marathon champion was crowned on Saturday when Paulus Iiyambo of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) Sport Club won the Rössing Marathon National Championship in a time of 2 hours 19 minutes and 30 seconds.
Sponsored by Rio Tinto Rössing Uranium and hosted by Swakop Striders Athletics Club, the event took place in overcast, windless conditions, starting and finishing at a new venue – the Vineta sports fields in Swakopmund.
After his win, a confident Iiyambo said: “I’ve been participating here for a number of years, so by now I’m almost used to the Rössing Marathon. My race was relaxed and the conditions were great.”
The defending champion, Reonard Namupala, came second, just over three minutes behind in 2:22:31, while Simon Shipingana came third in 2:23:17.
In the Women’s Marathon, Namibia’s veteran runner and also member of the NDF club Helalia Johannes returned to the spotlight with an impressive win over her younger competitors – crossing the finish line in 2:45:20 and still looked full of energy after her victory.
She said: “It feels great to perform well in the marathon again after focusing on the shorter distances during last year’s event. I am happy with my recorded time and still had energy left after the race. Thank you Rössing for another great event this year.”
Sofia Nambabi finished well behind in second place in 3:06:48, while Julia Janse van Rensburg came third in 3:17.24.
The fast-paced 10 km Run was won by Kefas Kondjashili in a time of 30 minutes and 16 seconds – slightly slower than last year’s winning time of just under 30 minutes. Kondjashii was followed by Tomas Rainhold (30:18) in second place and last year’s winner Jeremia Shaliaxhwe (30:35) in third.
In the 10 km Run Women’s Open, Lavinia Haitope triumphed in 33:40, followed by Alina Armas (35:36) and Leena Ekandjo (37:46). The winners of the open categories received prizes worth over N$70 000, which included N$10 000 cash each and an additional N$20 000 development bonus for the men and women’s marathon winners.
The development bonus is to help the winners further their careers throughout the year of their reign as Rössing Marathon national champions.
A record number of 109 marathon athletes entered the Rössing Marathon this year, with close to 300 entries in the 10km Run – also a new record – while about 200 fun walkers took part in the 5km Fun Walk in aid of the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN).
The Uranium Charity Relay over 10km, an event also in aid of CAN and open to uranium companies in the Erongo Region, was won for the third year in a row by the team from Rössing Uranium Mine. Through their registration fees and additional donations, the fun walkers and relay runners collected approximately N$4 000 for the cancer association to use in the fight against cancer in Namibia.