Simon Sibeko and Annie Bothma both clocked personal bests on Sunday to win the ASA national marathon (42km) titles at the Durban International Marathon.
Bothma was particularly superb, charging to an impressive gun-to tape victory in 2:30:31 in the colours of Western Province Athletics, finishing five seconds clear of Chaltu Bedo Negashu (2:30:36) in the overall women's race after the Ethiopian athlete made a late bid for victory.
"When she (Negashu) came up onto my shoulder I started pushing," Bothma said.
"I thought I had it in the bag and I was struggling, so I thought I could just cruise in, but I had to give it everything I had in those last few kilometres."
Defending champion Jenet Mbhele was fourth overall in 2:37:08, taking the silver medal for host province KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) in the ASA Marathon Championships, and Nontokozo Mkhize ended fifth in 2:40:53 to earn the national bronze medal.
Admitting she had struggled in the wet and windy conditions, Bothma was pleased to have held on to win her maiden ASA marathon title.
"I've had a lot of adversity in my life and it's a huge privilege to finally be the national champion," she said.
In the men's race, Sibeko finished second overall in 2:12:06 to win gold in the national championship.
Though he was nearly two minutes behind overall men's winner Tebello Ramakongoana of Lesotho (2:11:10), the Central Gauteng Athletics star produced the race of his life.
"It was challenging in the rain but I'm glad to have run a personal best and I'm very happy with my performance today," Sibeko said.
Defending champion Tumelo Motlagale was fourth overall in 2:17:06, in the colours of Athletics Central North West (ACNW), securing the silver medal in the ASA Marathon Championships and local KZNA athlete Bonginkosi Mavuso, was fifth overall in 2:17:47, taking the bronze medal in the national event.