'2023 has really been a good year' - Simonay Weitsz ready for Thembisa Mile
With defending champion having confirmed her participation in this year's race, one of the main questions ahead of the 2023 edition of the Thembisa Street Mile is whether or not anyone can beat Prudence Sekgodišo to win the women's invitational mile. One runner who looks poised to offer the national 800m and 1500m champion some competition is Simonay Weitsz who has enjoyed a resurgence in form this year. The woman who the SA 1500m title as a junior back in 2016 has showed glimpses of that form and is looking forward to Sunday's race.
"2023 has really been a good year," she said reflecting on a year that saw her win the Athletics South Africa 4km Cross Country title. "I'm grateful to God for giving me such a good year. I think it has been a good year because I shifted my mindset. Now I focus on specific things and prepare for specific things. Also, I'm no longer running a lot of races. That's what has helped me and I'm looking forward to an even bigger year next year."
Before the year is over though Weitsz will have to take on the likes of four-time champion Sekgodišo and reigning University Sports South Africa 1500m champion Charne Swart in a mile race through the streets of the Ekhurhuleni township. Having claimed third place behind Sekgodiso and Tshepang Sello last year, the 24-year-old Tshwane University of Technology student who is a versatile performer from the track and cross country to the road, is confident of doing well.
"Training went well," she told #TheTopRunner. "I was not actually preparing just for the Thembisa Street Mile. My focus is actually preparing for the ASA Cross Country Trials on the 18th of November. So this is a race that I always run and I will always run it. I'm excited to see what will happen on race day. My goal is just to have a great run and a lekker race and test my shape. I'm excite to have tough competition. It's gonna be a very hard race, so I just want to give my best," said the woman who won the Jan L Jordaan Benoni Northerns Night Race in 37:08 on Wednesday (25 October) night.
In the men's invitational mile, defending champion and hometown favourite Ryan Mphahlele will be absent having opted jog the 10km event after a long season running in Europe where he represented South Africa at the World Championships as well as the inaugural World Road Running Championships. It means that 3-time national 1500m champion Nkosinthai Sibiya will start as one of the favourites alongside 800m stars Jabulane Ncamane and Kabelo Mohlosi of Botswana.