KNYSNA SPORT NEWS - The forest was once again filled with thousands of runners when the Knysna Forest Marathon took place on Saturday 29 June, standing as the penultimate sporting event of the Oyster Festival.
The 36th edition of this marathon promised to be one for the books, as the weather was forecast to play along perfectly for the approximately 5 500 runners who tackled this year's race.
The hordes of athletes who would attempt the 42.2km race set off first as the start gun shot them into action at 07:00, with darkness still the dominating force in the forests.
While these full-marathon runners were out traversing the forests, the half-marathon (21.1km) runners were warming up for their 08:00 start. Luckily for them, by the time they set off the sun had already begun peering through the treetops and managed to act as some form of relief from the bitter cold that hung in the air.
While the full and half marathons most likely played host to the more serious runners, there was also a much shorter 5km run for those who weren't quite ready to run the longer distances.
Half-marathon defending champion Lloyd Bosman was once again a man on a mission, as he managed to cross the finish line in first place yet again, this time three minutes ahead of his nearest competitor Malusi Judase (01:10:34), clocking an impressive time of 01:07:25. Third place in the men's race Keegan Cooke managed to finish in 01:10:45, not far ahead of the first lady who would cross the line, Rene Kalmer, who managed to do an equally impressive time of 01:19:33.
Crowds at the Knysna High School's sports fields would have to wait half-an-hour after Bosman's arrival before the first 42.2km runner would cross the finish line. Siviwe Nkombi took these honours in a highly respectable 02:33:21 before collapsing into prayer after the finish line. He was followed by Retsepile Khotle who clocked a time of 02:37:30, with Bernard Rukadza finishing in third place with a time of 02:39:41.
The first woman who would cross the line in the full marathon would be Valentine Wanga, in 03:37:05. She was followed home by Verone Grobler (03:38:30) and Mari Bester (03:40:24).
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