'I believe I can run Comrades and win it' - Jonas Makhele after winning Om Die Dam
Jonas Makhele added his name to the Comrades Marathon contender's list after winning this weekend's Om Die Dam 50km marathon. Having finished in second place during last year's Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km race in 2:42:15, the Nedbank Running Club athlete started as the favourite when he lined up for the first edition of the race around Hartebeespoort Dam since 2020. And he didn't disappoint.
"I ran in the bunch with a strong group of runners from the start. I could tell that these guys were fit. We passed halfway together in that lead bunch where we were constantly being tested by the younger athletes who kept on surging. I managed to maintain and with 10km to go that's when I felt that I could win the race. But I decided to hold with the guys up until 5km and that's when I decided to pull away and lead to the finish," he explained.
Eventually cruising to victory in 2:57:24, 24 seconds ahead of second placed Tumelo Makgakwe, 40-year old Makhele could savour the final kilometre knowing that he had won his first Om Die Dam title. Even though his runner-up position in the World Athletics Elite Label 50km in Gqeberha in March 2022 probably earned him more accolades, the man who lives and trains in Soweto says the victory in the North West province this weekend, will go down as one of the biggest of his career.
"I'm so happy after wining Om Die Dam. I'm very proud. It brought a lot of joy in my heart because it also showed me and everyone that my preparations are going well. It's a big race, with lots of runners. It was a well organised race. It gave me an opportunity to make history for my name. That was my race. I'm so happy with my performance," said the man who ran a 42,2km personal best of 2:21:27 at last year's Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
Having performed so well over 50km in the last 18 months, questions are now being asked about whether he will lineup for the 90km Comrades Marathon in August. Makhele believes he has what it takes to win the race, especially because he completes most of his long runs with 2013 Comrades champion Claude Moshiywa's Mpolmpolo Group.
"This win also encourages me to keep it up and that I must pull up my socks because it might happen that I might go to Comrades. I believe I can run Comrades to the extent of winning the race. But I think Comrades will demand a lot of sacrifice especially time. I will have to make good time for my Comrades preparation. So I think later on I'll be able to decide, depending on the training programme whether I'll be going to Comrades for a win. But I think I will take part in the race," he revealed.