Pineas Embashu and Ndeshimona Ekandjo were the winners of the inaugural Telecom City of Windhoek Marathon which took place in Windhoek on Sunday morning.
The 33-year-old Embashu, who runs for the Namibia Defence Force, won the senior men’s category of the 42km event in a time of 2 hours 34 minutes, to finish well ahead of team mate Vetisee Mbunguha who came second in 3:02.
Embashu took the lead from the start and never looked back, extending his lead as the race said it was a tough course.
“It was not easy and there were many up and down hills, but I am happy to have won this race. I want to thank Telecom for giving us this chance to compete and the traffic department for helping us on the course,” he said.
Embashu, who won N$1 000 as the men’s winner, however called on the organisers to also organise prize money for the second and third placed athletes.
“It’s disappointing for my team mates and the other athletes that there was not prize money for the second and third places. How can we produce good times if there is no prize money,” he said.
Embashu previously won the Rossing Marathon in 2011 and the Fish River Marathon in 2006 and 2007.
Second-placed Mbunguha was running in only his third full marathon, after coming fifth in the 2011 Rossing Marathon and sixth in the 2011 Lucky Star Marathon.
Ndeshimona Ekandjo, who is still only 22 years old and was running in only her second 42km marathon, won the senior women’s category in a time of 3 hours 29 minutes.
Ekandjo made her debut over 42km in the Lucky Star Marathon last year where she came second. Ekandjo, who has also excelled in track events like the 1 500m and 3 000m, said she enjoyed the marathon more and wanted to concentrate on that.
“I like the marathon and enjoyed today’s course. I want to improve in the marathon and represent Namibia at the Olympic Games one day,” she said.
More than 500 athletes participated in the marathon which was organised by Windhoek Harriers and sponsored by Telecom Namibia.
Athletes could enter various distances ranging from a full 42km marathon to 21km, 10km and 5km events while there were also walking events.
The marathon started and finished at the Doc Jubber Hockey fields in Olympia and took the athletes past numerous well known Windhoek landmarks like the old State House, the Independence Memorial, the Supreme Court, Parliament, the Christus Kirche and many others.
One of the organisers, Yvonne Brinkmann of Otb Sport said it was a great turn out.
“We are delighted with the turnout, to get more than 500 participants for the inaugural event was beyond our wildest expectations. One can see there is definitely a growth in participation in sports in Namibia and I’m especially happy with the big turnout of the youngsters,” she said.