Runners depart from the start line of the Cape Town Marathon on Sunday. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - The disappointments of his teammates’ failure to conquer the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon at the weekend will not dispirit Precious Mashele, but will instead serve as motivation for him to ace Sunday’s FNB Joburg 10K CiTYRUN.

Mashele trains at the Zoo Lake under the guidance of the legendary Hendrick Ramaala, whose three charges were out to win the continent’s first and only IAAF Gold Label Status race.

Only Xolisa Tyali in eighth place made the top ten, while Michael Mazibuko was 14th and Two Oceans champion Lungile Ngongca came in at a distant 18th. Their coach Ramaala was ten more places behind in 28th.

This weekend it is the turn of the South African Cross Country champion Mashele to shine, and he is raring to blitz his way through the streets of Johannesburg and past its iconic landmarks to glory on Heritage Day.

“Cross country is tough,” he said, looking back to his triumph at the beginning of the month. “I ran a controlled race (at the National Cross Country Championships in Potchefstroom on September 9) and was able to command the race. So I think I am ready for the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN.”

Not only did Mashele win the SA Cross Country title in recent times, but he has also proven he is in great nick when he ran a Personal Best Half Marathon time of 61.56 in June. He does admit though that it will be tough to conquer.

“I know it won’t be easy. Stephen (Mokoka) will be back and he is in great shape lately,” Mashele said of his former teammate, friend and rival who will be among the top names vying for glory on Sunday.

Mokoka will be using the Joburg race as his final tune-up for his onslaught on his own SA 10km Record at the FNB Durban 10K CITYSURFRUN.

Also in the race will be the likes of Joel Mmone, David Manja and Thabang Mosiako whom Mashele beat in Potchefstroom. The trio though will be out to get even and will thus make it hard for the Cross Country champion to reign supreme.

Meanwhile in the women’s race, double SA Cross Country Champion, Glenrose Xaba is among the favourites although she will not have it easy. What with Cornelia Joubert, the Phalula twins, Lebo and Lebogang, Irvette van Zyl and Rutendo Nyahora also in the mix. 

Sunday’s race will see the participants running past and through some of Joburg’s iconic spots such as the FNB Bank City, Ellis Park Stadium, Constitution Hill, Wits University, Neighbourgoods Market, Nelson Mandela Bridge, and Mary Fitzgerald Square.

The Star

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