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Bridesmaid to the bride, Phalula chases Two Oceans glory

Athletics
JOHANNESBURG - Lebogang Phalula is tired of being winless. Without victory this year, the Boxer Athletics Club GCA athlete is determined to change the status quo.

And she is adamant she’ll do it at this weekend’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon - in the half-marathon category.

“I’ve not won in a long time. It is actually beginning to frustrate me, this business of always settling for second or third.”

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Long-distance runner Lebohang Phalula and teammate Gladwin Mzazi hard at training for the picturesque Two Oceans marathon in Cape Town. Photo: Matthews Baloyi

It’s mid-morning in Diepkloof, Soweto, and Phalula has just finished her stretching session ahead of the KPMG SunMile challenge later in the evening.

But her mind is far ahead, focused on the big fish - the world’s most beautiful (half) marathon.

“I missed the race last year, but I am ready for it this time. And I am aiming for a top-three finish. Actually, I am aiming for a win. It has not been good coming second and third.”

Phalula won the Two Oceans 21km race back in 2015. But it has been pretty tough lately and she admits she had erred in trying to run the full marathon and that affected her somewhat negatively.

“I wanted to test myself, so I went up to marathons. But I found it very hard. I went back down to half marathons.

“I did badly in the Speed Series and recently finished fourth at the Spar Ladies. I want better finishes and feel I’m ready to make some serious improvements.

“But I am not going to Cape Town chasing times. I just want to win.”

With her twin sister Lebo pregnant and out of action, Lebogang has struggled to cope.

“We’ve always trained and ran together and it is tough without her this year. You know, whenever she wins it's like a win for me too and vice versa. We always encourage each other on the road and I am finding it tough without her.

“But I know she will be back and I am going to Cape Town with the aim to do well, not just for me but for her too.”

The Star

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