'I hope 2024 will be a good year for me' - Farida Zwane wins Lesedi AC Reconciliation Day 21km
The 16th of December 2023 will go down as one of the most memorable days of Farida Zwane's career. Running through the streets of her home township of Vosloorus as the home crowd spurred her on, the Rocky Road Runners top runner won the Lesedi Athletic Club Reconciliation Day Half Marathon by more than two minutes in a new personal best clocking of 1:21:02. Zwane says it was an amazing feeling.
"I'm very happy to have been part of this race. I feel overjoyed because this is home," she told #TheTopRunner moments after entering the Vosloorus Stadium to take the applaus of a small but appreciative crowd that had gathered to witness the event. "The course was not too hard, a bit of hills, but quite nice. The atmosphere was so good. I got amazing support from my hometown, my friends and my family. They really came out to support me. I feel so good," she smiled.
Although 27 years old, Zwane is very much one of the country's up and coming athletes. It was only in 2022 that she won her first Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) senior title on the track when she took the 5000m at the Germiston Stadium in 17:51.01. That she is has remained in the sport despite the ups and downs she has had to endure while continuing to work towards breaking into the ranks of the country's internationally recognized elite athletes is a credit to her determination.
"I'm still pushing hard because I haven't reached where I want to be. So I can't stop until I get there. What also keeps me going is that I want to motivate the young and old that they shouldn't give up. The aim is not to give up, you just have to get up and keep moving. That's the way to go," she explained.
And yesterday's victory which comes whie she is preparing for 2024 by building her base at the legendary coach Michael 'Sponge' Seme's training camp in Soweto where she training alongside the likes of Cacisile Sosibo, has left her positive that next year will be the year that she finally goes beyond the 36 minute mark over 10km to begin a new phase of her athletic career.
"My training is going well. Slowly but surely, I'm aiming to improve. I hope 2024 will be a good year for me. Actually my target is to run 34 minutes for 10km so that I can start getting recognised. I want to be counted alongside the other top runners. So far I haven't got there yet, so I keep on going to get there. That's what encourages me."