Stephen Mokoka ran 1 hour 1 minute and 21 second to became the SA half marathon champion in ideal conditions on the fast-flat Port Elizabeth beach front course, beating Elroy Gelant into second spot some 9 second later.
Precious Mashele, running as an individual, finished third in 1:01:56, with home based athlete Melikhaya Frans setting a personal best by 2 minutes to cross the line in 1:01:58.
Frans performance was particularly emotional having lost his sister the day before the race.
Listen to Stephen talking about his race
The lead quartet had broken away from the very strong field after 15km, with Gelant looking the most comfortable as they headed south to Humewood for the second time.
With 2km to go it was Mokoka who was able to force a small opening over his South African team-mate to earn R50,000 first prize.
Three of the top seven finishers who broke 63 minutes were running as individuals, with only eight of the lead fifteen runners, all of whom went under 64 minutes, competing for provincial teams.
Gelant led the Central North West province to the gold team medal.
Listen to Elroy Gelant talk of his race with Mokoka and his hopes for the build to the 5000m World Championships in London in August.
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Cornelia Joubert, who celebrated her birthday earlier in the week, ran a gutsy race taking Ethiopians Abdurkadi Genet and Elisabet Arsedo head on.
Genet led the race through the first quarter, but going into the second half, Joubert closed the gap to push the defending champion, Genet, all the way to the 16km where the international duo opened a gap.
Genet crossed the line in 71:45, with Arsedo following in 72:20, but both had failed to meet the rules relating to race numbers, and were disqualified.
Although third over the line, Joubert was therefore promoted to open winner in addition to her already confirmed status of SA 21km champion.
As a birthday bonus, her 72:31 was a personal best and an indication of her general improvement from a focus on shorter distances.
listen to Cornelia here:
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Spar Ladies 10km series contender, Mapaseka Makhanya finished in second for the silver 12 seconds adrift, with Neheng Khatala of Lesotho separating the Central Gauteng duo from Bronze medalist Lebogang Phalula, who finished in 74:25.
The 21km championships doubled up as the final confirmation of the marathon team for the World Championships and the squad selection for the 2018 World Half Marathon championships in Valencia. Both will be announced on Monday.