Teammates Demond Mokgobu and Precious Mashele pictured during an earlier race. Photo: @CG_Athleics on twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Precious Mashele may not have won the ASA Half Marathon Championships at the weekend, but the third place he attained in Port Elizabeth has left him delighted.

“I killed it. Position three was good for me,” said the athlete who ran for Central Gauteng Athletics in the championship that saw Stephen Mokoka triumphant for the third year running.

Mashele was also third in 2017 but had a poor run last year to finish in eighth place having had a family bereavement building up to the 21.1km race.

“Last year I was home for my mom’s funeral and that affected me. But this year I trained well. I found that the race started a bit slow in the first five kilometres. The pace increased a bit and we got to the 10km mark in 29.19.

From the 15th, Desmond (Mokgobu, his teammate at the Hendrik Ramaala Foundation who finished sixth) pushed by doing some fartleks and Mokoka and I went with him. I was doing well but Mokoka left me at 19km. I gave the race my all and I was happy.”

The happiness stems from the fact that he should make the national team that will represent South Africa at next year’s World Half Marathon Championships.

Earlier this year, he ran for Team SA in the World Cross Country Championships.

“I finished 16th in that race in Denmark in March and I was very happy. I am now looking forward to the CGA cross country championships plus other road races.”

Those road races will see him going back to his beloved 10km events with the FNB series his next targets.

“The plan is to run the FNB races in Durban and Cape Town and maybe I will also do the Gun Run (in Cape Town).”

He will then close the year with an international half marathon race.

“I am going to race a 21km in France in November and the way I ran in PE gives me confidence that I will do well there. But I need to keep training and the local races will help me build up well for France.”

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An athlete who has built up well for her next race is Glenrose Xaba, the first South African female home in PE on Saturday. Xaba finished third behind Tadu Nate and Sarah Naibei in a time of 71:08.

The Boxer Running Club athlete was making her half marathon debut and her success has lifted her confidence as she looks to move up in the rankings for the 10km Spar Grand Prix Series.

Champion last year, Xaba has been helpless as Namibia’s Helalia Johannes literally took her title away with two out of three victories so far while the best she could manage was fourth in Durban.

She is hoping to win the Pretoria event this weekend: “I still felt very strong after Saturday’s race. It did not take a lot out of me as I had feared. Instead I am encouraged and really looking forward to the Spar race.

My aim is to finish in good positions in the remaining races. It will be good to win two out of three as that will see me finishing in the top three.”

@Tshiliboy

 

The Star

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