South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka who had never run a 50km race before, set a new world record on Sunday, 6, at the Nedbank #Runified 50km – a World Athletics Elite Label road event – in Gqeberha, at the Eastern Cape province of South Africa
Mokoka, 37, ran the race in two hours, 40 minutes, and 13 seconds, breaking the previous record of two hours, 42 minutes, and seven seconds set by Ethiopian Ketema Bekele Negasa (2:42:07) at the same event last year.
“I’m tired,” Mokoka, a three-times Olympian, said. “It’s a long way and I don’t know how I’m going to feel later, but I enjoyed it.”
Ethiopia’s Amelework Fikadu Bosho dominated the women’s race to finish in a time of 3:04:58, nearly four minutes ahead of the rest but 34 seconds short of the world record.
Mokoka’s amazing range is further demonstrated in this performance. In his career, the 37-year-old has won multiple national medals ranging from 1500m to marathon.
His personal best in the marathon is 2:07:40, and he set the South African half marathon record when he finished eighth in the 2020 World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia in 59:36.
Tete Dijana finished second in Gqeberha, clocking 2:44:08, with compatriot Edward Mothibi, the winner of the 2019 Comrades Marathon, third in 2:45:27.
The decision to add the distance to the list of events for which world records are recognized was taken during the World Athletics Council meeting in Tokyo in July, owing to the growing popularity of 50km road races.
At the start of this year, Negasa’s 2:42:07 was confirmed as the inaugural men’s world 50km record, while South Africa’s Irvette van Zyl’s 3:04:24 in the same 2021 event was ratified as the global 50km record for a women-only race.
Source: World Athletics
Arakunrin Lekan is a Managing Editor & writer at the TheAfricanDream LLC. He’s also a freelance poet, graphics designer, and a business man.