The top three finishers in the men’s race of the 2017 Joburg 10k CityRun - Stephen Mokoka (left), Thabang Mosiako (middle) and Gladwin Mzazi. Photo: Michael Sherman/ANA

JOHANNESBURG – Gladwin Mzazi has achieved a lot in his running career. But the Boxer AC star has some goals he still would like to realise.

One of those is to represent South Africa at the Olympics. And so it will be with his eye on Tokyo 2020 that Mzazi will line up for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon next month.

The IAAF Gold Label Status race will again double as the SA Marathon Championships to give local athletes the opportunity to raise their hands for Team SA selection.

“I need to run well and meet the target time of 2:11.30 to qualify for the Olympics for the first time. It is a dream of every athlete to represent his country on this biggest sporting event in the world and I am no different,” explained the athlete who ran for South Africa at the World Half Marathon Championships in 2012.

The Mother City has never been his happy hunting ground, but he is intent on turning things around.

“I was in position 11 in 2017 but missed the race last year as I did not want to run too many marathons in one year. I am hoping that I will be able to improve from that performance this year.”

The Cape Town Marathon is renowned for being flat and fast, a race conducive to PBs. Last year’s winner and SA marathon champion Stephen Mokoka ran a course record 2:08:31. According to Mzazi, Mokoka also proved that the East African runners are not invincible.

“He showed us all that Kenyans and Ethiopians have two legs just like all of us. He showed us that they can be beaten in a marathon. We learnt that nothing is impossible if you as an athlete have prepared well.”

With Mokoka unavailable to defend his title, thanks to his participation at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, the onus will be on the likes of Mzazi, Elroy Gelant and Lusapo April to keep the title on home soil.

To prepare for the race, he will run the 10km at the Vaal Marathon on Spring Day before heading to the Mother City for the showdown on September 15.

Mbongiseni Buthelezi