Athletics: Matlala the main man

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The Independent Online
LUCAS MATLALA, of South Africa, making his first trip to the United States, won the 27th annual Portland Marathon - despite turning up at the wrong venue. Matlala said: "My pace was a little slow because I was trying to make up for the climate change and I'm a newcomer here."

Matlala had signed up for the Portland Marathon thinking it was in Maine. Only after arriving in New York, when he discovered his ticket price was more than double what he had expected, did he realise his mistake. Race director Les Smith said: "But he just picked up and came out here anyway, and then he wins it."

Matlala completed the course in in 2hr 26min 12sec. It was just a warm- up for Matlala, who lives in Johannesburg and normally competes in 50- mile-plus ultramarathons, including the prestigious Comrades Marathon in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.