It is all happening a little too quickly for Kabelo Mulaudzi. But such are the rewards of consistently working hard on your trait, heeding your coaches’ advice and living a disciplined life that the 25-year-old Boxer Athletic Club athlete is enjoying a great vein of form that he and his coach were only hoping to achieve next year.
Mulaudzi, previously Seboko but now using his father’s surname, has catapulted himself into the realm of national superstar with two impressive successive victories in the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series that he is suddenly the talk of the running town.
Just this past weekend, the lad from Alexandra won the inaugural TSHWANE 10k beating a stellar field that included national record holder Precious Mashele as well as multiple Olympian Elroy Gelant and Lesotho’s Namakoe Nkhasi to mention but just three. His 29:12 time though, was not as good as the scintillating 27:56 that he ran to win the DURBAN 10k last month, a run that surprised both himself and his coach Richard Mayer.
“The 27 that we ran in Durban had not been our plan,” Mulaudzi says of the time that saw him join a select group of just five local runners to have dipped under the 28 minutes for the distance “We were hoping that I would improve on my then PB of 28:31, so the goal was to do a sub 28:20. But everything went very well on that day and I ran that great time.”
Mayer concurred during an interview with the Top Runner website after Sunday’s victory at the Union Buildings: “We always expected him to get to this level, but the speed with which he has got to this level in such a relatively short period of time has been astounding. He's even more talented than I thought he was and I always knew that he was a talented athlete with a bright future in front of him.”
That much cannot be denied and Mulaudzi gets yet another opportunity to show this much when he goes back to Durban this weekend for the Hollywoodbets Durban 10k, with the intent of getting as close to his current PB as possible. Does that mean he would have Mashele’s national record of 27:35 in mind?
“No not at all - I just want to go there and see how close I can get to my PB and try to finish in the top three. But the national record is not something I am thinking about, everything has its time – so no pressure to break the record.”
He cannot put himself under pressure, not given what he has been through in the previous years when he had parted ways with the coach who had developed him in his junior years.
“Coach Richard (Mayer) trained me from my young age. But when he got very busy due to his work as a lawyer, he got me to join the Zoo Lake group. I trained four years there and my progress was not the way I would have wanted it to be. I struggled with injuries and there was just no consistency in my running.”
At the beginning of this year, Mulaudzi reconnected with Mayer – author of that quintessential read on the golden years of South African running titled the Three Men Named Matthews – and it was as though runner and coach had never parted.
“Going back was not an easy thing to do because I left him as a junior and as senior I had some doubts as I wondered if the program will work. But we understand each other and everything has been going great since. Our main goal for this year has been that I must win the national cross country championships so I can qualify for next year’s world champs. I will be running the 10k at the nationals in September. But what has happened on the road has been pleasantly surprising and it has given me great confidence. The coach and I had expected the progress to be coming next year, but it is great that this is happening now.”
That he is doing as well as he is on the road is because Mulaudzi is a focused athlete.
Not one to roam the streets
“You have to know what you want. You have to be disciplined, focused and respect the sport. I rest when I have to rest and I have never been one to roam the streets, even when I was a junior. I am not one for many friends. I stay at home and read my books if I am not training.”
Mayer confirmed that much in that interview with the Top Runner, the coach praising his athlete.
“He’s very, very talented. But mere talent alone is not enough He’s disciplined, he can handle pressure and he’s also hard in a race. He can take pain. You can have as much talent as God will give you but unfortunately if you don't have a certain desire and intensity then when things get hard in training or in a race, you'll struggle.”