Johannesburg - Fresh from defending his 5000m title at the SA Senior Track and Field Championships at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town last month, Precious Mashele is setting his sights on defending his national Half-Marathon Championships crown at Gqeberha, Eastern Cape on Saturday.
Last year, the roadrunner clocked 1:01:18 to win the half marathon championship title.
The 31-year-old Limpopo-born long-distance runner is working with his training group at Zoo Lake, Johannesburg under the guidance of coach and legend, Hendrick Ramaala.
He said he could be in the best possible shape to defend his national title in Gqeberha. He is confident that he can do it in the Windy City. He said another victory in Gqeberha would set the tone for his season.
“I was not 100% fit at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in Cape Town last month, but my teammates have helped me to regain my fitness. I am not worried about the time, but I will be more focused on winning the half marathon. My coach and I have a plan going into the race,” said the SA three-time 5000m champion.
After he clocked 13:39:92 to retain his senior 5000m title in the Mother City, Mashele was advised by his coach to choose his races carefully. This was after he suffered from fatigue because of over racing last year. Mashele qualified for the World Championships in June last year where competed in the 5000m.
“I am happy that I defended my 5000m title. I plan to use the ASA Half-Marathon Championships as part of my preparations for the World Athletics Championships in the USA in July," said Mashele.
"At the Zoo Lake, we are like a family. I got a wild card to the World Championships and I plan to run the 5000m in America. The coach had told me that I must rest more this year and recharge the battery. I think the body is now okay.”
The year 2021 was a busy year for Mashele as he qualified for the Olympic Games and went on to win his first-ever SA Half-Marathon Championships.
“Running at my first Olympics remains the biggest highlight of my career. Although I didn’t run well because of the hot weather conditions in Japan, I enjoyed myself.
“My training partners have been helping me to push the pace in training. We are all set and ready for the half marathon.”