The Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon have been won by twin brothers and Tsepang and Tshepo Ramonene.
Tsepang won the 42 km in 2 hours 25 minutes 28 seconds and Tshepo won the 21 km in 1 hour 6 minutes 6 seconds.
Speaking after the race, Tsepang said he was very happy to win because last year he came second. “I trained very hard to win this year.” He says his best ever marathon time was recorded in Durban on 1 March 2015 as 2 hours 16 minutes 35 seconds.
For Tshepo (24) this is a new personal best. His previous best time for 21 km is 1 hour 6 minutes 56 seconds. He said that he found the race very easy, although the downhills were a challenge. He hoped to improve his time next year.
Second man over the line in the 42 km was Eric Sigxashe in 2 hours 34 minutes 55 seconds, followed by George Ntshilizo in 2 hours 37 minutes 41 seconds.
First woman home in the full marathon wasCandice-Lee Davison in 3 hours 23 minutes 5 seconds, followed by Ursula Edwine Frans in 3 hours 23 minutes 27 seconds and Helen Squirrell in 3 hours 23 minutes 36 seconds.
In the 21 km Etienne Plaatjies was second with a time of 1 hour 7 minutes 6 seconds and Michael Bailey came third in 1 hour 12 minutes 24 seconds.
First woman over the line in the half marathon was Rene Kalmer in 1 hour 19 minutes 9 seconds, followed by Andrea Steyn in 1 hour 23 minutes 44 seconds, and Charne Bosman in 1 hour 24 minutes 23 seconds.
Eight and a half thousand runners lined up in the Knysna Forest on Saturday morning in perfect conditions for the Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon, the 31st event since the first one in 1984.The cool forest morning turned into a warm day with a gentle berg wind and protective cloud cover for most of the race.
Of the 1,100 runners who registered for the full marathon, only 615 finished the race. Race Director Leon Brown said that the 42 km is “very challenging but it’s also probably one of the most beautiful marathons in the world. It takes the runners deep into sections of pristine Knysna forest.”
The forest marathon is the biggest sporting event of the popular annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival. For many runners it’s a bucket list race and entries sell out fast. It is known for its scenic routes, the unique early start in the forest and the great vibe at the finish at the Festival grounds.
One of the race traditions, which is to collect warm clothing discarded by runners in the forest after the start, has recently been formalised by the naming sponsor Momentum, who Brown says has added huge value to the race. “Momentum now distributes 2,000 beautiful blankets to the first runners to arrive at the start and when they discard these, they are collected by the local Youth for Christ group and transported into Knysna where they are sorted and folded and then distributed to local impoverished communities.”Danie van den Bergh, Head of Momentum Branding said that Momentum’s involvement in the race is not just about brand awareness. “We are privileged to be able to leave a legacy and a little warmth behind in Knysna every year with the distribution of these blankets to the most needy residents of the community.”
Brown said that the charity component of the marathon has two legs. “The runners have the option of donating extra money when they enter a race, but we also have 300 charity entries which are made available when entries close. The race is so popular that these charity entries go for an extra R500 and we collect R200 000 for our charities in this way.
“We also partner with the local Lions Club and Epilepsy Knysna and the money raised goes to them as well as into development running. With the race income and sponsorship, this is about R850,000 annually.
“The local taxis got involved some years ago transporting the runners into the forest for the start, because the turnaround time for busses made delivery too slow. Knysna has a very good taxi association and they work extremely well with the Marathon Club every year. It’s a critical operation involving 100 taxis – we fill a taxi every 23 seconds to deliver all 8,500 runners in an hour and a half! The runners feel that the taxi experience is a positive one, which is part and parcel of the whole Knysna marathon experience and we receive good feedback about it.”