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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'Everything has started to make sense' - Anthony Timoteus looks to end on a high after a good 2022

After they were postponed in 2021 because of Covid-19, the World Athletics Cross country Championships are set to go ahead for the first time since 2019 in Australia in February. During the last edition of the competition almost four years ago in Denmark, Precious Mashele managed an impressive 16th place in a senior men's race that was won by 5 000m and 10 000m World Record holder Joshua Cheptegei, while his countryman from Uganda who is the Half Marathon World Record holder Jacob Kiplimo took the silver medal.

With Mashele having hung up his cross country shoes to focus on the track and the road, South Africa will be looking for a new anchor man for next year's senior men's race in Bathurst. That honour could go to any of a handful of top runners who will be vying for selection at the 2022 ASA Cross Country Trials which take place in Potchefstroom on 3 December. National 10km Cross Country champion Mbuleli Mathanga will face stiff competition from the likes of Kabelo Seboko, Maxime Chaumeton and Anthony Timoteus who will be looking to use the World Cross Country Championships as a stepping stone towards the Olympic Games.

Timoteus has had a good 2022 and wants to build on that success in 2023. Photo Credit: Anthony Timoteus.

"I basically had the whole of this year, next year and six months after that for the Olympic Games. So after my studies I told myself that I can go and work now and get a big salary but then I spoke to Nick (Bester) and Nick came to the party and he supported me on my road. I told him that him that this year I just want to build and get the experience. Then if I can get through this year with next year's building phase as well then going in 2024 I think I will definitely be ready for the Olympic Games," said the Nedbank Running Club man who is now training under the watchful eye of the legendary Zola Budd in Stellenbosch.

The 27-year-old's brave decision to forgo employment and focus on being a full time athlete after obtaining his qualification from the University of The Western Cape immediately has started to bear fruit. Although he struggled with injury in the latter part of the year, 2022 has been good to Timoteus. He set a new 5 000m personal best of 13:36.11 in March and then took the bronze medal behind Mashele and Chaumeton in the same event at the national championships in April three weeks later, which he then followed up with a new 10km lifetime best of 28:29 at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10k.

Timoteus finishing the Sanlam Cape Town 10km Peace Run where he took third place. Photo cRedit: Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.

"Getting back after my injury it was quite a process. I built myself up nicely with some races here in Cape Town," he shared after finishing in third place at the Sanlam Cape Town 10km Peace Run in what was the fifth fastest 10km clocking (29:06) of his career. That he was able to produce that performance less than three months after from injury is a testament to how much the talented athlete has grown as an athlete. Timoteus credits several mentors including SA Marathon record holder Gert Thys, saying they have taught him valuable lessons about sport and himself.

Timoteus poses with former coach Glen Bentley of the University of The Western Cape after winning a medal for Western Province at the National Championships in 2019. Photo Credit: Anthony Timoteus.

"Five years ago if you were gonna take me to the desert and leave me there I wouldn't know what to do or how to get myself in peak shape. I would say that in the last three years I have learnt a lot about athletics. And I feel now you can leave me in the desert with food, stove and I will survive because I know exactly what I do in my training and by finding that out - that was my turning point in my athletics career. I can still remember me and Elroy we were sitting with Mr Gert Thys in Potchefstroom, when he opened up and then a lot of things started to makes sense and now the stuff that my coach Glen (Bentley) used to say back then started to make sense."

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