'Cape Milers/Endurocad playing a game changing role in middle distance running in SA' - King Ryan
There must be something in the air whenever Ryan Mphahlele turns up at a track and field meet in the Western Cape that allows him to run his best. Besides the fact that South Africa's southern most province is at the coast which is an advantage for middle distance athletes who train at altitude, King Ryan's performances in Cape Town or Stellenbosch are always streaks ahead of other sea level venues. And it was again the case when he lined up at the Cape Milers Club/Endurocad Middle distance invitational at the Green Point stadium on Friday night and delivered a memorable performance.
The man from Thembisa took on Tshepo Tshite over 1500m and the pair delivered a thrilling race as they ran shoulder to shoulder down the home straight with Mphahlele holding on to out dip the Tshite on the line. The African Championships silver medalists' winning time of 3:35.01 was the second fastest of his career while Tshite's 3:35.08 was a personal best. Three-time SA Champion Nkosinathi Sibiya took third in a new lifetime best of 3:37.93.
Mphahlele says he loves the Cape Milers Club/Endurocad events because of the platform they provide for local middle distance athletes to run top class sea level meets. "The race went well although I really didn't expect we would run a quick time like that without a pacer. Yeah I can declare Western Cape is my second home. I always run quick times when I'm there and that's also because it's in the coast," he told #TheTopRunner.
And while some may point out that the victory for the Adidas sponsored came just a fortnight after the 800m specialist got the better of him at the national championships where he stunned 1500m specialists to take his first ASA Senior Track and Field Championships gold medal over the metric mile - King Ryan says it wasn't about revenge.
"We had a plan with the Gents (Tshepo and Nkosinathi) and this time it was not about who should be winning. So that made us more focused to run a quick times. The plan was to go through 1:55 for the first 800m and we did exactly that and from there on it was easier to maintain the pace and finish strong. And we executed well with both Tshepo and Nkosinathi running PB's."
The 24-year-old's leadership was clear to see as he ran from the front and took on the pacemaking duties. Leading the race from gun to tape and running a fast time will leave the man who represented the country at last year's Commonwealth Games confident that he can nail the qualification standard (3:34.20) for the World Championships in Budapest later this year. And that could even happen tonight when the pair line up at the Green Point Stadium again.
"Yeah I am running the Cape Milers again and it's no secret that we are going for very quick times again. What we need to get those qualification times is good pacing first and foremost and keeping my bulletproof mindset going into global races with great competition or not," he said. Mphahlele, Tshite, SA 800m and 1500m champion Prudence Sekgodišo will all be in action at the World Continental Tour Cape Milers Club/Endurocad Middle distance invitational 2 this evening.