Frans and Xaba in tough defence of ASA Half-Marathon titles

athletics31 May 2023 08:09
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Local favourite Melikhaya Frans and in-form athlete Glenrose Xaba will be out to defend their national 21.1km titles this weekend at the coast.

They will, however, have to be at their best against powerful fields at the 2023 ASA Half-Marathon Championships, which is incorporated into the Nelson Mandela Bay Half-Marathon in Gqeberha on Saturday 3 June.

Frans, who won last year's ASA title as the first South African after finishing second overall in the open race, will be eager to retain his national crown in the colours of hosts Eastern Province Athletics.

He will toe the line against a full-strength line-up of super record holders on the cards in the men's contest.

Frans, who holds the national 30km record, faces the likes of SA half-marathon record holder Stephen Mokoka (Athletics Gauteng North), national 10km record holder Precious Mashele (Central Gauteng Athletics) and SA 5 000m record holder Elroy Gelant (Athletics Central North West).

Xaba, meanwhile, will be confident of securing her third straight ASA half-marathon title after setting a 10km personal best of 32:12 in Gqeberha last week, but the AGN star will also have to beat a quality line-up to retain her national crown.

The women's field features experienced campaigner Kesa Molotsane (Athletics Free State), in-form CGA athletes Cacisile Sosibo and Cian Oldknow, and national marathon champion Annie Bothma (Western Province Athletics).

The race starts at 7am on Saturday 3 June at Pollok Beach in Summerstrand.

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"This race at Nelson Mandela Bay has never disappointed. We expect it to be no different from those already run over the past good years. Once again, I predict a close pound-for-pound contest in both races.

"We thank Eastern Province Athletics and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for our partnership once more. We urge the spirit of Ubuntu to continue among all runners, coaches, and spectators. And on behalf of the ASA Board I wish everyone a great and entertaining day," said James Moloi, the President of Athletics South Africa.