The SPAR Tzaneen Tuffy 4-in-One Marathon on the 11th of March showcased exceptional athleticism and an event filled with great energy and enthusiasm. Set against the stunning backdrop of Tzaneen’s natural beauty, the event started at sunrise and featured 1 125 participants from all over the country.

The challenging course was no match for Timothy Munzhelele, a rising star from Limpopo, who dominated the men’s 42.2km race. In an exciting battle, Munzhelele fought off stiff competition from Phaladi Pholosho and Isaac Mokgola, who came in second and third, respectively.

Mamala Maponya was equally impressive in the women’s 42.2km race, beating out Jane Mudau and Monica Erasmus to take the top spot. The half-marathon (21.1km) races were just as thrilling, with Ananius Masila and Rosaline Isaiah emerging victorious in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.

42,2 km results:

Timothy Munzhelele from the Murray & Robberts Athletics Club Limpopo conquered the steep hills of the Tuffy 42,2km race and clinched a stunning victory. Munzhelele’s winning time was 02:48.17.

The race winner though had to dig deep all the way to the finish line to keep Phaladi Pholosho from the University of Limpopo Athletic Club at bay.

The university athlete eventually settled for second place, just a few seconds behind the winner, Munzhelele. Pholosho’s finish time was 02:48.51. In the third place, some couple of minutes behind the front runnners, was Isaac Mokgola who recorded a time of 02:57.24.

Another strong performance from the University of Limpopo’s Athletics Club who delivered the first female runner in the 42,2km marathon. Annah Maponya won in a time of 04:12.32. She completed this race in an overall 23rd place.

The second woman’s athlete across the line was Nedbank Running Club Limpopo’s Jane Mudau. Her time was 04:31.47. The third place with a time of 04:35.04 was Monica Erasmus from Polokwane Athletics Club.

021,1km half marathon:

The SPAR Tuffy half marathon also provided a couple of steep climbs on the route and gave the runners a proper workout. Seilago Masila, another student runner from the University of Limpopo, had quite a tussle with independent entrant, Phuti Sethowa.

In the end Masila managed to build up a slender lead which he kept until the end to win in a time of 01:18.06. Sethowa could not keep up with the flying Masila and eventually took second place in a time of 01:19.02. In third place with a time of 01:23.50 was Emmanuel Ramohale.

The first woman to complete the half marathon was the independent entry of Rosaline Isaiah. She was classified 11th overall with a time of 01:41.14. The next female athlete after Isaiah was Joyce Netshitenzhe (also an independent entry) who ran a time of 01:47.18. In third place was Monique Smit from the Nedbank Running Club Limpopo. Smit posted a finish time of 01:52.14.

10km race results:

Calvin Malatji blitzed the tame 10km Tuffy course to take the overall win in a time of 36 minutes and 17 seconds. A mere minute behind Malatji was the former Ultra Comrades winner Ludwick Mamabolo with a finish time of 00:37.42. Tuwani Mulaudzi who claimed the final spot on the podium finished in a time of 38 minutes and six seconds.

The first of the women’s runners to reach the end, was Violet Kamogelo. She ran a time of 46 minutes and four seconds and finished in 11th place overall.

She was followed by Gift Ramabele who took 50 minutes and 37 seconds to complete the 10km course. Gift was the winner of the 42.5 marathon last year. The third and final step on the podium, with a time of 53 minutes and 23 seconds, went to Phalaborwa Athletics Club’s Sina Malatji.

Far North Bulletin spoke to Tertius Erasmus, the chairperson of Tzaneen Marathon Club, afterwards. Tzaneen’s marathoners were once again the host of the annual event.

“I have been involved with this club since 2019 and I have competed in each Tuffy race, with exception during the Covid-19 period. It is the ninth year that Tzaneen Marathon Club hosted the SPAR Tuffy Marathon,” he said. “We are very fortunate not to report any incidents during any of the marathon races. Kudos to all the waterpoints on the route which were all very well prepared for the over a thousand runners. There was even cold water available until the end for the participants.”

“We just would just like to emphasize our sincerest appreciation to all our valued sponsors who contributed in the success of the Tuffy Marathon. Without these sponsors, which is mainly from our local community, is it not possible to hold a race of this magnitude.”