'I have done enough to draw other international race organizers' attention' - Mathanga after 21km PB
Mbuleli Mathanga continued his scintillating form this year when he held his own against a mouthwatering field to take third position at the Rome Ostia Half Marathon in Italy on Sunday. Running an international race for only the second time in his career, Mathanga ran a sensational 60:17 time to better his previous personal best over the 21km distance by 1 minute 9 seconds. The reigning SA 10 000m Champion is still in disbelief with the performance he pulled off on the streets of Roma, especially on a challenging route.
"I'm happy with the way I performed in the race. The truth must be told that I didn't expect to get a podium finish on the day," said an elated Mathanga. "The course was challenging I won't lie to you, but the pacemaker that was brought did the duties excellently on the day. He pushed us to clock better times. My aim was to clock a new personal best which I managed to achieve. To get position three surprised me because the field was strong and I can't express how I'm feeling at the moment," he told #TheTopRunner.
The 28-year-old Phantane Athletics Club athlete hopes this performance will be the step to the next level for his burgeoning career. "It was important that I do well in an international race in order to get more invites from other event organizers," said Mathanga, who is coached by Mdu Khumalo.
"The race was full of East African runners and included Kenyans. Those guys are good. So to compete against them gives any athlete a morale boost. I think I have done enough to draw other international race organizers' attention. To compete internationally will help me to improve my time and gain experience," he said. Mathanga will now turn his focus to the Venice Marathon in Italy this upcoming Sunday where he will do the pacemaking duties.