'I'm humbled. It's a dream for every athlete to break records' - Kekana on new SA 10k Masters record
In addition to Maxime Chaumeton becoming the first South African to run under 28 minutes for 10km on home soil, another notable record was broken during Sunday's Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10k. 50-year-old Johannes Kekana ran 31:03 to obliterate the SA Masters record of 31:45 which had been set by the legendary Titus Mamabolo 31 years ago - almost to the day. Having showed great form when he ran 32:05 to win the 50-59 category at the Hollywoodbets Durban Summer 10k last November, the 2003 All Africa Games Marathon champion says he knew he was in good shape.
"It was a very good, fast and flat course. It was very good for the record. So it's not a surprise that I've got that record because that course was very suitable for me. I'm very humbled. I think it's a dream for every athlete to break records. I'm humbled and very happy about it," he told #TheTopRunner after achieving the milestone.
That he finished inside the top 50 overall in one of the fastest 10km races in South African history just five weeks after he ran 1:07:13 at the NMB Half Marathon, underlines the good form that the 2005 SA Marathon champion currently enjoys. But just how is he able to continue running fast, 23 years after leaving his job as a cook to become a full-time athlete? The Boxer Athletics Club top runner explains that his anti-aging elixir is training with some of the young athletes that he coaches.
"Give ourself time with the young ones because you can't do it alone," is his advice to ageing runners who still wish to perform at a high level. "As we get older, we are obviously going to get finished, so if you keep up with the young ones and you keep busy with them you will always be a fast runner. I'm training with the young ones so those are the ones that keep me fit because you have to chase them all the time. It's also about consistency. Since I started running, I've never quit in any way."
With the national masters 10km record under his belt, the man who is also the owner of both Comrades and Two Oceans ultra marathon gold medals can now dream of breaking even more records. His 31:03 during Sunday's Absa RYC DURBAN 10k leaves him less than thirty seconds outside the masters world record of 30:35 set by England's Tecwyn Davies wayback in 1988. It's also an important step on Kekana's road to breaking yet another of Mamabolo's records - the masters marathon world record of 2:19:29 which was also produced in Durban in 1991.
"It's possible! 30:35 is possible because that was my aim when I was training for this race. I was targeting that time because my preparation had gone very well. I was just unfortunate on the day of the race, I don't know what happened. Now people are asking why am I getting faster as I am getting older and my answer was simple: the inspiration was there from the old man Mr. Mamabolo because sometimes if you see someone doing something next to you, you obviously think I can also do it. That's why I'm trying so hard as a master," he said.