Durban – When one thinks of Hollywood it is usually associated with Hollywood in Los Angeles, a neighborhood in California which is a metonym for the home of cinema and the glitz and glamour of movie stars in the United States of America.
However, on Sunday the concept of Hollywood acquired a new meaning in the context of the Hollywoodbets Durban 5km and 10km race when five thousand runners painted the streets purple in the third running of a race which is well on its way to becoming one of the iconic road running events on the South African road running calendar.
With massive prize money up for grabs – said to be the biggest for a 10km race in the country – it was not surprising that it was enough of a carrot to attract some of the fastest distance running stars on the local and international running scene.
New kid on the block Kabelo Mulaudzi from the Boxer Athletic Club lived up to expectations when he crossed the finish line in an impressive 28 minutes and 1 second in ideal cool overcast conditions in a race that started and finished outside the Hollywood Kings Park Rugby Stadium on Sunday morning.
The boy from Alexandra continued his rich vein of form with his third consecutive victory in a major 10km race. On Sunday he was just outside of the scintillating time of 27:56 that he set at the Absa RYCS Durban 10km last month.
Just to show that that was not just a once-off, he won last week’s inaugural Absa RYC Tshwane 10k when he clocked 29:12 at high altitude on the highveld.
So, it came as no surprise when he beat his Boxer teammate, seasoned campaigner Elroy Gelant (28:04) who was hot on his heels in second place.
One of the pre-race favourites Thabang Mosiako (28:07) from the Nedbank club was just three seconds behind Gelant in third place.
Matthews Leeto (23:23) was the first Hollywood Athletics runner to cross the finish line in fourth position with his clubmate Reghan Magwai (28:26) fifth.
As expected from a man displaying such great form, Mulaudzi was over the moon with his hat-trick of successive 10km victories.
“I am very happy to win this race because I have now made it three out of three. Every time I come to Durban, I run a good time,” he said.
“When I started, my body was sore and not responding well but after 6km I started to pick up and that’s where I moved to the front and it made things easy.
“The pressure was hard but I had to push myself hard. This is the best season for me. Last year I was struggling with injuries, there were lots of ups and downs and this year I am consistent.”
In the women’s race Cian Oldknow (32:17) held Hollywood Athletic club’s name high by running a personal best time.
Oldknow improved her time by a massive 31 seconds and managed to thwart off the onslaught from Ethiopia’s Debash Kelali Desta (32:18).
Lesotho’s Blandina Makatisi (32:23) from the Maxed Elite Club was third.
Oldknow’s performance shows that her preparations are on track for the 2023 World Half-Marathon Championships in Latvia next month.
The 26-year-old said her tactics was spot on and controlled her race perfectly well.
She explained: “I was behind the front group by about 50m for the first 2km and eventually caught up with them and we were a nice group running together.
“At about 6km I moved to the front. I was nervous because I have never taken the lead that early in a race but I went for it. At about 8km the lady from Ethiopia (Desta) was behind me.
“I managed to hold my pace and she eventually dropped off. It just felt good leading up to the finish line and I am very happy with my time, which is a personal best for me.”
“To be honest there was not too much pressure on me, I knew I was in good shape and I decided to express myself in the race. From here I have the world half-marathon champs and this was one of the last preparation races for that.
“I will take a lot of confidence because I am really feeling good with my running at the moment and we still have a lot of training before the championships in Latvia.”
ALL SMILES: Big prize-money was up for grabs at the Hollywoodbets Durban 10km Pic: Hollywoodbets