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THE TOP RUNNER

A behind the scenes look at South African athletics

 

'Anything is possible' says Precious Mashele as he makes Olympic debut

When Precious Mashele takes his mark for the heats of the men's 5000m today it will be as one of the less fancied runners in a field stacked with East Africans and other more well known performers. The only South African in the event will line up in heat 2 at 13:16 CAT alongside 5000m and 10 000m world record holder Joshua Cheptgei of Uganda and his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo who won bronze in the 10 000m on Friday. Mashele's personal best of 13:11.65 which he had to run in ord

Icon's Journey Marathon gets underway in EC as runners cover 7x42km in 7 days & 103km on last day

Vulithuba Sangoni, founder of the Icon's Journey Marathon is happy to see the event growing because it benefits underprivileged kids across South Africa. Since 2018, the annual 8-day run and ride has been taking place in the Eastern Cape to celebrate the towns and hamlets that produced the national and international struggle icons such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Thabo Mbeki. This year, they hope to cover 400km in 8 days between the 31st of July to August 7 to raise

Businesses should invest in local clubs if we want to see more black Olympians - Nixon Nkodima AC

While the debate rages on about the racial composition of South Africa's Olympic team, athletics coaches and administrators working on the ground are calling on local businesses to invest in the creation of more black Olympians. One such elite-athlete-turned-coach is Nixon Nkodima who after narrowly missing out to Josia Thugwane at the SA Marathon Championships in February 1996 was selected as a non-travelling reserve for the Olympic team where Thugwane would go on to become

Deirdre Larkin joins RunZone as new brand ambassador

It all started with a pair of shoes. When Graham Block noticed that one of his most loved runners was running in an old pair of shoes he decided to ask why. It turns out that 89 year old Deirdre Larkin had been running in the same pair of shoes for 8 years. Although she did have another pair, that five year-old was reserved exclusively for races. Even though the celebrated age group world record holder was an honorary lifetime member of Randburg Harriers, as the chairman of R

'Your uniqueness is what makes you you!' - Chantel Struwig

For most people, their teenage years and early twenties are characterised by search for identity and a desire to fit in. But Chantel Struwig sees things differently. This 20 year old was born with a vascular birthmark on her face that makes her stand out. Although she initially struggled with her self-confidence as a result of being different, she says learning how to embrace her uniqueness taught her how to live #Limitless. "It affected, my self-confidence when I was younger

Johnson hopes his Olympic performance will inspire Eden Park laaities to follow their dreams

Rising South African long jump star Cheswill Johnson is shooting for gold medal at Olympics Games which kicked off in Tokyo. Johnson and Ruswahl Samaai carry the country's hopes of a medal in the pit in the absence of Luvo Manyonga, who is serving a four year ban. While both Manyoga and the legendary Khotso Mokoena managed Olympic silver in the event, no South African has ever won the Olympic long jump gold medal. And the man who i the owner of an 8.27m personal best set in F

'I wasn't given a proper platform to tell my story' - Shange

South African walking sensation Lebogang Daywalker Shange's hopes of representing the country at a second Olympic Games have gone up with the smoke of the starter's gun. This after Shange was handed a four year ban for a doping violation this week. In 2019 Shange tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid trenbolone, a drug used to promote muscle growth in cattle, and was given a four-year suspension. The 20km walk national record holder appealed the sentence, allowing h

Ngwenya steps down as KZNA Athletes' Commission chair

Martin Ngwenya has decided to step down from the KwaZulu-Natal Athletics board. The Mr. Price Sport Maxed Elite Running Manager took the top position on the Athletes' Commission during the KZNA Elections in April to earn a seat on the board alongside the federation's new president Steve Mkasi. But the man who is responsible for looking after all the top runners in the Maxed Elite Running Club says he has too much on his plate which has forced him to step aside. "To be honest

Mokoena backs Samaai and Johnson to medal in Tokyo

South African long jump veteran Khotso Mokoena says the two jumpers selected to represent South Africa at the Tokyo Olympics stand a good chance of returning home with a medal. Ruswahl Samaai and Cheswill Johnson will carry the country hopes in the pit at the rescheduled games which kick off on Friday. Mokoena who was Team SA's sole medalist at Beijing 2008, says the two athletes must focus on getting into the final where one good leap can prove to be enough. "I think we've g

'Put your body under subjection and tell it you're not tired, it's not cold' - Warrior Ric

Few can do a better job of motivating even the most reluctant couch potato across the finish line than Ricardo Gressel. If that name doesn't ring a bell then Warrior Ric certainly will. The American who first came to South Africa in 1994 as a model, has since made a name for himself as the voice of motivation at the gruelling Jeep Warrior Races. And when he's not encouraging muddy participants up rope ladders and down 20 meter jumps, he works as a change agent helping people

Mfunzi joins Mabhida's stable as she sets her eye on Comrades glory

Rising South African ultra-marathon starlet Ntombisentu Mfunzi to be coached by Xolani Mabhida in a bid for next year's Comrades Marathon glory. Last week, Mabhida, a renowned Comrades coach who was the major force behind Bongumusa Mthembu's back to back victories at the Ultimate Human Race, announced more athletes that have joined his stable since his decision to reopen his own running club. Mfunzi joins a list of notable athletes coached by Mabhida including Salome Cooper,

67-year old Stacey runs and cycles 67km for Mandela Day to raise funds for TB

Of all the things known about the most celebrated world leader of the twentieth century, very few people know that the late Nelson Mandela was a TB survivor. Madiba was cured of the disease in 1988 and famously told the 2004 International Aids Conference in Bangkok, Thailand that the battle against AIDS cannot be won unless the fight against tuberculosis was intensified. Neal Stacey is doing exactly that. "Never ever did the thought cross my mind that one day I'll be running

Walking for change - Leilani Kuter's story

There can be no denying the therapeutic benefits of exercise. Runners' High as it is fondly known is that feeling of deep joy that comes after a session of self-inflicted punishment of kilometre after kilometre. Many also report a clarity of thought that often eludes them during what can be a chaotic day of modern life. So when Leilani Kuter started walking after, she did it as part of her own journey of healing. "My story begins on the 16th of September 1992 when I was raped

It will be different this time - Mokoka

After finishing in fifth place at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Stephen Mokoka is aiming to go one better when he represents South Africa in the men's marathon at the Tokyo Olympics. The country's premiere 42,2km athlete looked certain to medal in Doha when he went to the front of a small leading bunch of four athletes with less than 10km to go. But he faded into fifth as Ethiopia's won the race in 2:10:40 with Mokoka 29 seconds adrift. The pain of that race is still

'You don't need to relocate to Pretoria to be considered as a top sprinter' says Olympian Nene

Durban-based sprinter Zakithi Nene is delighted to be included in the Team SA's Olympic squad. The 23-year-old is amongst four athletes selected for the 4×400m relay team including Oscar Mavundla, Lythe Pillay, Ranto Dikgale, and Derrick Mokaleng. In May, the man who runs for Fast Feet Track Club represented the country at the World Relay Championships and is elated to be going one step further to wear the green and gold at the biggest athletics stage in the world. "I'm feeli

Van Deventer concerned about lack of 1500m athletes in SA Olympic team

Olympian Juan Van Deventer is surprised not to see any South African 1 500m athletes named into the Tokyo Olympics squad. In the final squad announced by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee( SASCOC) yesterday, not a single runner managed to hit the 3:35:00 qualifying time to be on a plane to Japan. Van DeVenter who became the first South African to reach a 1 500m Olympic final back in Beijing 2008 is concerned that not one man was able to qualify to r

Gerda Steyn not ruling out possibility of winning an Olympic medal as she prepares for tactical race

After Caster Semenya failed to qualify in the 5000m, many argue that Team South Africa is lacking a medal hopeful when it comes to female runners. Although Semenya and the legendary Elana Meyer are the only South African female runners to have won Olympic medals, don't bet against Gerda Steyn finishing on the podium in the women's marathon. The SA marathon record holder believes that anything is possible, especially in what is expected to be a tactical race in Japan on August

SABC broadcast deal with ASA is almost done - Rathbone

SABC Sport Boss Gary Rathbone has revealed that they are close to concluding a new broadcast deal with Athletics South Africa (ASA). The right to cover athletics on TV has remained the sole domain of the public broadcaster since the inception of televised athletics in South Africa almost 40 years ago. But a combination of factors from the SABC's financial woes, boardroom battles inside ASA and the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that the one year deal signed between the two parti

Mundell overjoyed to be a 3-time Olympian & aiming for top 10 finish in Tokyo

South African walking star Marc Mundell is hoping to make his last mark in the country's colours at the upcoming rescheduled Olympic games in Japan. Mundell who has already represented the country on the biggest international stage, qualified for #Tokyo2021 based on his world ranking after narrowly missing out on automatic qualification. In March, Mundell produced a world class performance of 3:53:09 to set a new African and South African 50km race walk record at the World At

Mphahlele and Sibiya to pace as ASA give Mashele and Mathanga one last chance to qualify

Newly elected Athletics South Africa (ASA) President James Moloi is adamant that athletics will emerge as one of the best sporting codes from South Africa's #Tokyo2021 Olympic performance. Since readmission from sporting isolation in 1992, athletics has produced 14 of Team SA's 35 medals, which is matched only by swimming. And in a last ditch effort to ensure that he sends his strongest team, Moloi has given the go ahead for the organisation of a final track meet to give Prec

 

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