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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I do believe in the talent of SA athletes' says Elana Meyer as PB's tumble at Endurocad Meet

A slew of personal bests and a sub 4-minute mile have left athletics lovers gasping for breath and praising the efforts of Elana Mayer and her organising team for putting on a top-class track meet. The Olympic silver medalist turned athletics administrator is now running her own organisation called Endurocad which aims to become the most proficient distance running and endurance sports academy in Africa. Lofty ambitions on a continent that is home to The Rift Valley. But one quick step at a time, Meyer seems to be getting closer to achieving that dream. And it all starts with giving athletes the opportunity to run fast at sea level.

Meyer flanked by mentee and Top Runner Nolene Conrad (left) at the track. Photo Credit: Endurocad.

“It was encouraging to see athletes respond in the way that they did,” she told #TheTopRunner during a telephonic interview from the Cape. “It was amazing to see athletes flying down from up-country to come and run a league meeting,” said the holder of no less than five SA records. Runners who made the trip from Johannesburg to Stellenbosch's Coetzenburg Stadium for the Endurocad Invitational Meeting included Hendrick Ramaala’s Zoo Lake Group. The 2004 New York Marathon champion is now a coach and was pleased to see his charges feature strongly in the 5 000m.

The in-form Precious Mashele bested a stacked field to take line honours in a South African lead of 13:38 with his Zoo Lake training partners of Kabelo Seboko (14:15), Olympic Marathon hopeful Desmond Mokgobu (14:23) and Dylan van der Merwe (14:41) taking the positions behind the man who is set to make his marathon debut in Hamburg next month. The ever improving Mbuleli Mthanga who is coached by Mdu Khumalo represented Durban well as he finished just one second behind Mashele in his fastest 5000m clocking yet.

Precious Mashele on his way to winning the 5000m. Photo Credit: David Papenfus.

If twelve and a half laps of the track thrilled then the four went one better as two athletes dipped below the hallowed 4-minute mile mark. The University of The Western Cape’s Ashley Smith scorched around in 3.58.63 followed closely by Ramaala’s Maxime Chaumeton in 3.59.01. Smith’s performance saw him earn the most World Athletics points on the night.

The red hot times are exactly what the former 15km World Record holder wanted to see. “I do believe in the talent of South African athletes. I’ve just realised the lack of good competitions at sea level, especially for middle distance. I could see how hungry and motivated they are to run fast,” she enthused. A total of 29 personal best times were recorded from 68 runners over 5 events last night. For those athletes that missed out on the competition, tomorrow and next Monday the 22nd of March will provide more opportunities to run fast and free.

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