Noosi excels at Alps marathon


FNB-sponsored local long distance runner, Teboho Noosi, defied all odds when he finished the Switzerland Sierre-Sinal Mountain Race in ninth position last week. 

Kilian Jornet of Spain and Switzerland’s Maude Mathys smashed the respective course records at the Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland, the fifth race in the 2019 World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) World Cup series, on Sunday (9).

Jornet clocked 2:25:35 over the 31km course to break the 2:29:12 record set by Jonathan Wyatt in 2003. Mathys was even more dominant, clocking 2:49:20 to clip more than five minutes from the previous mark of 2:54:26 set by Czech Anna Pichrtova in 2008.

The iconic race, which starts in the Valais town of Sierre and climbs to the village of Zinal, has a total ascent of 2200m and 1100m of descent and features a course offering views of five of the area’s 4000-metre peaks, lending it the nickname, the “Five 4000s Race”.


Jornet broke away early, soon after leaving Sierre and had built a two minute advantage over 2016 winner Petro Mamu by the Ponchette checkpoint seven kilometres into the race. Between the Chandolin and Hotel Weisshorn checkpoints, Jornet eased the pace, allowing Mamu to reduce the gap to 1:27.

From Weisshorn, at 2337m the course’s highest point, the race once again picked up steam. The key for Jornet was his powerful performance on the uphill sections, normally the weaker part of his race. While Mamu continued to chip away at the lead, Jornet held on, beating the Eritrean by 42 seconds to take his seventh victory at the event. Mamu clocked 2:26:17, also well inside the previous record.

Jim Walmsley of the US, who last May clocked a world best over 50 miles (80.46km), rounded out the podium in 2:31:52, a solid performance in his European trail and mountain running debut. Juan Carlos Carrera of Mexico and Robbie Simpson of Great Britain completed the top five, clocking 2:32:52 and 2:33:55, respectively.

Briton Andrew Douglas finished sixth to solidify his lead in the WMRA World Cup standings. With 450 points, the Briton has pieced together an unassailable lead with two races remaining in the series.

Going into the race, Teboho knew it was no soft record but he truly believed he can break it. Coming from the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho he naturally enjoys steep climbs and technical terrain. Lesotho is the perfect training ground for trail racing.

Teboho’s dream was to stand on top of the Alps as the new record holder. He won two unique races last year that proves he has what it takes to break the record.

2018 was Teboho’s best year after winning the Cathedral Peak Challenge and then the Mokhotlong Summer High Altitude Marathon- a very fierce marathon above 2000m with more than 1000m in accents.

FNB believes in the talent and drive of Basotho. 

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