WRITTEN BY: KHUSELO MAHLATI
The annual Diesel Depot 15km run looping Nahoon, Abbotsford, and Vincent, attracted a good field of runners and joggers on an ideal Saturday morning at Hams Club.
Runners were treated to a third-weekend event in a row — the OMAC, then a new race, the inaugural Buffalo City Marathon, and last weekend’s 15km VQS Diesel Depot race.
The race carried a R500 bonus for beating the record time (men 51:21 and women 62:03), set in 2019.
Malixole Kalideni and Hanlie Botha ripped the course apart with their hot pace and set new records.
Kalideni slashed it by almost three minutes while Botha knocked more than five minutes off the record.
The start in Chamberlain Road was a soaring affair, set against the wailing pipes and snappy snare drumming of the East London Caledonian Society Pipe Band.
Soon after the gun went off at 6 am.
Only 2km in, three well-known runners — Kalideni, Luthhando Hejana, and Bulelani Mgubo — separated themselves from the field.
The trio, who had just come off fighting performances in the Buffalo City Marathon, still managed to bag themselves podium finishes in the depot race.
Hejana stuck like glue to leader Kalideni with Mgubo hanging on not far behind.
But Kalideni was not up for entertaining other competitors. He kicked away after refreshments at the first water table. By the halfway mark, he was up by a minute and 10 seconds from Hejana and one minute 30 ahead of Mgubo.
It was solo Kalideni all the way to the finishing line clinching first place with a time of 48:26 followed by Hejana at 53:22.
Rounding off the podium was Mgubo, who tried valiantly to overtake Hejana who was in sight, but had to settle for third spot in 55:02.
Even with no competition at hand, Botha still competed as if she had runners on her heels.
Representing Born2Run AC Border, she clocked a superb time of 56:27 to win the women’s race and placed fourth overall.
Carey Sheffield-Webb, even though slightly fatigued, maintained her pace to secure a second-place finish in one hour and 13 minutes, followed by club teammate Debbie Gee of Oxford Striders in one hour and 14 minutes.
Runners and joggers were in for an easy time at the start until they crossed the Nahoon River.
The toughest section of the course, Two Rivers Drive Hill elevated them to 119m above sea level.
It finally eased off to a flat and steady downhill finish at Hamilton Club