'I'm going to try and do it in a record time' - Tshabalala targets third K-WAY SkyRun title
When Simon Tshabalala tackles the K-WAY SkyRun this weekend, he will know that he is on the brink of writing himself into the history books. The grueling 100km race takes place in the Wittensburg mountains near South Africa's border with Lesotho, making it one of the most popular ultra distance trail running events on the African continent. 43-year-old Tshabalala is gunning for his third consecutive victory which would be the first of it's kind. No athlete either male or female has ever achieved that feat. But Tshabalala is nevertheless optimistic, especially after the training he has put in.
"I think the most Important thing is that my training has covered all the basics to get ready for the big day. Another good thing is that I'm so familiar with the route so I won't struggle to master it," explains Tshabalala, who hails from the Free State Province.
"This year my preparations have been focused on getting the basics right. We have done the long runs with my coach (Lucky Miya) in order to be fully prepared. On top of that, I have been injury free for the most part of the year, which leaves ready to tackle a challenging race like that needs you to be strong both physically and mentally. All that is left to do now is to execute all what I have done in training. Then I'm positive, the day will be good," said the Run Zone Athletic Club top runner.
The Comrades Marathon silver medalist is an ultra distance trail running specialist with an impressive CV boasting victories 2019 Maxi-Race Cape Winelands 100km, the 2020 SkyRun Lite 65km, while also having taken second place at the 2019 Magielsberg Challenge. Tshabalala's 13 hours 58 minutes 20 seconds finish at last year's K-WAY SkyRun saw him claim voctory by over an hour from runner-up Admire Muzopambwa. And after victory at the Harties Loop 80km in August in a record time, he is confident of winning his beloved SkyRun for the third time in a row.
"I'm feel like victory is on the cards for me come Sunday. Like I have indicated, the body is in great shape so I won't be surprised to come out on top. Plus I'm going to try and do it in a record time. This race is so special to me in many ways. I'm sure a victory will cement my status as one of the best trail runners in the country and might open doors especially with the sponsorship. So this race matters most as it is going to be the last big one for the year too."