No Race Like It Says 4-Time Soweto Marathon Champ Irvette van Zyl

She’s Number One - Four times over! “No race like Soweto” says 4-Time Marathon champion Irvette van Zyl after comfortably win the iconic race in hot conditions in Johannesburg on Sunday morning. Photo: African Bank on X
She’s Number One - Four times over! “No race like Soweto” says 4-Time Marathon champion Irvette van Zyl after comfortably win the iconic race in hot conditions in Johannesburg on Sunday morning. Photo: African Bank on X

An elated Irvette van Zyl used her power through the undulating hills to open the distance between herself and the shadows of her most earnest competition to comfortably win the 2023 African Bank Soweto Marathon in Johannesburg on Sunday, 5 November 2023.

Van Zyl crossed the line to earn her fourth title in a favourite race ahead of the talented youth of Ethopia’s Selam Gebere (2:36:04) and Kenya’s pre-race title contenders, Faith Chepkoech (2:37:26).

“It was tough conditions – the last 10 kilos was hot as predicted – but I’m so happy for this fourth win! It’s all about the win, and I’m so happy I can do it!”

Soweto Marathon 2023 Champion, Irvette van Zyl

The popular South African champion spoke up the chances of her course record being broken earlier in the week, and looked close to achieving the dream herself before cramps caused her to choose a sure title win, and crossed the line in less than a minute behind her record which stands.

“It was on and then it just slipped away, and I knew the last 10 was going to be tough, so I just targeted just to stay comfortable, and just focus on the win. And it was race until just after Vilakazi Street, but then I really started feeling my calves cramping up, so it was just a fact of just staying in the lead and just trying to win the race”

Soweto Marathon 2023 Champion, Irvette van Zyl

With the top three women completing the race under 2:38:00, Van Zyl said that it was one of the fastest races in her experience.

“Yes, it is the fastest race I’ve ever been in, and now I’ve got the third – The three all-time fastest time, and I’m so happy about that,” Van Zyl continued. “But the race was really tough, and the women’s elite field was really the best that I’ve ever competed against, so coming into the race, I knew it was going to be a tough one.

“It was a good race overall, and it’s getting more competitive each year, and I’m so happy I could be here and part of the action, and not sit on the couch this year.”

Preliminary Leading Elite Women’s results at the African Bank Soweto Marathon 2023, in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday 5 November, 2023

1. Irvette van Zyl (RSA) – 2:34:16
2. Selam Gebere (ETH) – 2:36:04
3. Faith Chepkoech (KEN) – 2:37:26
4. Chaltu Bedo Negashu (ETH) – 2:40:19
5. Gadise Getachew Bekele (ETH) – 2:40:27
6. Tinebebe Nebeyu Ali (ETH) – 2:41:30
7. Worke Degu Amena (ETH) – 2:44:52
8. Nobukhosi Tshuma (ZIM) – 2:47:31
9. Langutani Khumalo (RSA) – 2:48:18


Main Photo Caption: She’s Number One – Four times over! “No race like Soweto” says 4-Time Marathon champion Irvette van Zyl after comfortably win the iconic race in hot conditions in Johannesburg on Sunday morning. Photo: African Bank on X

Photo Caption: The popular South African long-distance runner used her power up the hills of Soweto to earn inches on her competitors, Ethiopia’s Selam Gebere and Kenyan, Faith Chepkoech. Photo: Screengrab of Soweto Marathon video on Instagram

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