African Marathon Championships
SportMarathon running
ContinentAfrica (CAA)

The African Marathon Championships was a biennial marathon running competition between athletes from Africa. A short-lived event, it was first staged in 1994 and held for a second and final time in 1996. The inaugural event was held on 4 December in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and the ultimate event on 1 December in Soweto, South Africa.[1] The 1996 race was incorporated into the Soweto Marathon.[2]

The championships was created as a result of changes to the African Championships in Athletics programme in 1990, which removed the men's marathon from the regular list of events.[1] Prior to that, the men's marathon had featured since the debut of the main championships in 1979, bar an interruption in 1984. The discrete African Marathon Championships marked the introduction of a men's team marathon format and a women's individual marathon – neither of which had been contested by athletes from the continent, nor since the championships dissolution.[3] The team format was scored by combining the finishing positions of a country's top three athletes, with the lowest score winning the event. Teams of fewer than three finishers were ineligible for medals.

South Africa proved to be the most successful nation during the competition's lifetime, winning both of the men's individual titles, the first men's team title, and the last women's individual title. Ethiopia was the next most successful, having won the remaining men's team title and the first women's title – it had a medal sweep in the first women's race. Nine African nations reached the podium across the tournament's two editions.[1]

Andries Pilusa and Adam Motlagale were the men's race winners and Motlagale's 1996 time of 2:21:09 hours proved to be the best of the championships. Ethiopia's Elfenesh Alemu won the 1994 women's title in 3:08:05 hours – a time which was beaten by Sarah Mokgotla, whose win in 2:56:53 hours made her the only woman to dip under the three-hour mark at the event.[1] The championships pre-dated Kenyan dominance of the road distance and 1996 bronze men's medallist Geoffrey Kinyua remains the only Kenyan to have won an African-level medal in the marathon (covering this event, the main athletics championships and the All-Africa Games).[1][3][4]

The event was the fourth discrete continental marathon championship to be established after the European Marathon Cup (1981),[5] Asian Marathon Championship (1988),[6] and the South American Marathon Championships (April 1994).[7]


Men's individual

Year Gold Silver Bronze
1994  Andries Pilusa (RSA) 2:25:13  Mohammed Abbas Mustapha (NGR) 2:30:48  Guirna Lema (ETH) 2:32:52
1996  Adam Motlagale (RSA) 2:21:09  Willy Kalombo Mwenze (ZAI) 2:21:54  Geoffrey Kinyua (KEN) 2:22:38

Men's team

Year Gold Silver Bronze
1994  South Africa 22  Niger 39  Ivory Coast 40
1996  Ethiopia 18  South Africa 24  Eswatini 28

Women's individual

Year Gold Silver Bronze
1994  Elfenesh Alemu (ETH) 3:08:05  Emebet Abosa (ETH) 3:15:44  Fantaye Sirak (ETH) 3:19:05
1996  Sarah Mokgotla (RSA) 2:56:53  Angelina Mantokoane Pitso (LES) 3:02:27  Renée Scott (RSA) 3:05:39

Medal table

1 South Africa (RSA)4116
2 Ethiopia (ETH)2125
3 Lesotho (LES)0101
 Niger (NIG)0101
 Nigeria (NGR)0101
 Zaire (ZAI)0101
7 Eswatini (SWZ)0011
 Ivory Coast (CIV)0011
 Kenya (KEN)0011
Totals (9 nations)66618


  1. ^ a b c d e African Marathon Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-05.
  2. ^ Keniane loop in Soweto Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Die Burger (1996-10-17). Retrieved on 2015-03-05.
  3. ^ a b African Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-05.
  4. ^ All Africa Games. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-05.
  5. ^ European Marathon Cup. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-05.
  6. ^ Asian Marathon Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-05.
  7. ^ South American Marathon Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2015-03-05.
Individual medallists