'2:08 is possible' - Sikhakhane ready to take on Cape Town Marathon
Rising South African marathon star Sboniso Sikhakhane believes that he is capable of running under 2:10 when he races the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on the 16th of October. Yesterday, organizers announced the elite field of athletes including Sikhakhane, and the decorated Stephen Mokoka. The fastest man in the field though is Ethiopian Gebru Redahgne, whose 2:05:58 over 42,2km that he ran in May saw him take the runner-up position at the Barcelona Marathon.
Sikhakhane who holds a 2:11:49 personal best which he achieved when he claimed position eight in the same race last year has also applauded the organizers for assembling world class athletes for South African runners to compete against.
"Firstly, I'm happy that I was announced as one of the elite athletes that is expected to do well on race day. I didn't expect to get a special mention," he told #TheTopRunner. "I heard that this year more runners with fast times will be coming to run the race. I think we need that since we are not getting that too much competition here in South Africa. To compete with athletes with fast times will make us strong. The organizers are doing a stellar job and I'm quite positive the race will deliver good times."
Sikhakhane, who resides in Newcastle, in the Northwestern part of KwaZulu-Natal has been in fine form this year. He placed third during the Two Oceans Marathon in a time of 3:11:31 and finished as the runners-up in the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi 52km with a spectacular time of 03:02:00 in June. The man, who is coached by Mdu Khumalo has lofty ambitions in the Mother City on race day.
"I think I'm capable of clocking a time of 2:08 on the day if everything goes well. I know quality athletes like Mokoka can run fast so my time projection is doable," explained the 31-year-old who runs in the colours of Phantane Athletics Club. And given how well he has performed over the standard marathon distance, Sikhakhane says he has shelved his plans of taking part in longer ultra marathons.
"At one stage, I thought of doing the Comrades Marathon this year but after I ran well in Two Oceans I changed my mind. I still have a lot to offer over the marathon distance. The training has gone quite well so I can achieve this time (2:08) if all goes well and the weather conditions are favourable," he concluded.