'I'm lucky' - Lucky Mohale joins Nedbank and plans to tackle the ultras in 2024
At 38 years old and with a wealth of experience, Lucky Mohale is one of South Africa's most underrated road runners. In a career which dates back to 2005 when he began competing as a senior over 10km, his accolades include two national half marathon titles, while he also represented the country at the World Cross Country Championships, the World Half Marathon Championships and the 2011 World Championships in Daegu where he raced the marathon. Armed with this pedigree and a half marathon best of 1:01:08 which places him in 13th place on the SA All-Time List, Mohale believes it's time to make the switch to the ultra marathons.
"My age is right because I was supposed to run the Two Oceans Marathon last year, but I said let me just leave it and start preparing for it this year. So this year I'm going for Two Oceans 56km and I think it's the right time for my age," explained the man who turns 39 in August and holds a 42,2km lifetime best of 2:13:35.
Having made the decision to step up in distance, Mohale revealed to #TheTopRunner that the move to join Mzansi's most successful ultra marathon road running club came as a bit of a surprise. Mohale says after deciding to pass on the offer that Boxer had made him, he was actually planning to compete as an individual. But on hearing about his availability and decision to challenge for gold at the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon, the Nedbank Running Club snapped him up.
"I joined the club this year to try new things. I was running for Boxer last year, but I was struggling with the finances. It forced me to over-race in order to get cash. I'm living with three kids, so I have to provide for them. It was tough. This year, my plan was to run as an individual, but fortunately I got help from Nedbank, so I'm lucky," he giggled.
But he is not just relying on luck. The man who is coached by the legendary Johannes Kekana, has been putting in the kilometres. Mohale trained well during December 2023 and then opened his season with a 1:08:56 clocking for fifth place at the Dis-Chem Half Marathon on Sunday 14 January. He believes that with some solid training already under his belt and Comrades and Two Oceans gold medalist Kekana in his corner, he can make an impact on the 2024 ultra marathon season.
"I'm still with coach Kekana, so I always phone him to ask him what I should do when I'm struggling. Even now he invited me to a training camp because I'm training alone and it's tough. So if I can train with a group it will be better. This year, I'll be happy if I can get top five for Two Oceans. And then at Comrades I just want to go and run with them to see what Comrades is about, so I can run it next year."