Stephen Mokoka and Gladwin Mzazi have been the star performers among the men on the Road Running circuit this season, while Nolene Conrad has stood out as the top performer among the nation's elite women, with all three athletes displaying prominence in the Athletics South Africa rankings.
While a number of races were still scheduled to be held before the 2018 campaign came to a close, including high-profile races at home and overseas such as the Soweto Marathon and the New York Marathon, the local championship season ended late last month.
And though there could be some changes to the rankings before the end of the year, Mokoka, Mzazi and Conrad are the standout performers in the latest lists released by the national federation. Mokoka clocked 2:08:31 to win the ASA title at the Cape Town Marathon last month, climbing to the top of the men's rankings over the 42.2km distance.
Desmond Mokgobu was the only other athlete to have dipped under 2:10:00 thus far this season, taking the Beppu-Oita Marathon crown in Japan in February by crossing the line in 2:09:31.
Again showcasing his versatility, Mokoka also led the 21.1km rankings after finishing 16th in 1:01:26 at the World Half-Marathon Championships in Valencia in March.
Bouncing back from an injury layoff, Elroy Gelant clocked 1:01:48 at the ASA Half-Marathon Championships in Port Elizabeth in July to settle on second place, with Mzazi's 1:01:49 good enough for third.
Mokgobu (1:01:50) and Thabang Mosiako (1:01:59) also cracked the 1:02:00 barrier in the Windy City over the 10km distance. Mzazi was the quickest so far this year, holding a Season Best of 28:40 which he set in Port Elizabeth in April.
Though Mzazi was one of only four men to have cracked 29 minutes in 2018, the 10km rankings are likely to be given a real shake at the CitySurfRun in Durban this weekend.
Conrad, meanwhile, rocketed to the top of the ASA women's 42.2km rankings after winning the national title at the Cape Town Marathon in 2:34:39. She was the only SA woman to have gone under 2:40:00 this year, though these rankings could also be given a boost by in-form ultra-distance specialist Gerda Steyn set to line up in New York next month.
Conrad also spearheaded the ASA 21.1km list, having set a Personal Best of 1:11:44 to finish 25th at the World Half-Marathon Championships.
Jenet Mbhele, who clocked 1:13:07 at the national championships, was the only other woman to break the 1:15:00 mark.
While there were big gaps in the rankings among the elite women over longer distances, there was real promise shown in the 10km event, with the depth displayed by five ladies going under 34 minutes.
Irvette van Zyl led the charge, crossing the line in 32:49 in Cape Town last month, showing remarkable form less than four months after giving birth to her second child.
She was followed in the rankings by a handful of athletes who had also displayed good form this year, including breakthrough performer Glenrose Xaba (33:21), Kesa Molotsane (33:28), Conrad (33:43) and Steyn (33:59).
Issued by ASA
Photo Credit: Roger Sedres