'I'm so happy with my performance' - Dream Two Oceans debut for Mhlakwana
Despite finishing as a runner-up in yesterday's Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon, Nkosikhona Mhlakwana feels proud of his performance in Cape Town. Going into the race with a 2:16:33 marathon personal best achieved in last year's Cape Town Marathon, Mhlakwana returned to the Mother City for the first time since last October aiming for a dream debut at the 56km ultra-marathon.
The 28-year-old Hollywoodbets Athletic Club athlete employed a cautious approach early on, staying behind the leading bunch. It was only after the 48km mark that the 28-year old took lead running alongside Ethiopia's Edndale Belachew. Then the race went down to the wire as the two men had to sprint for the top honors. In the end, Mhlakwana ran a sensational 3:09:08 debut, 3 seconds behind Belachew.
"I'm so happy with my performance. To be the first South African and second overall is like dream come true for me," he told #TheTopRunner shortly after that dramatic finish. "In the last 2km, I tried to break him (Belachew) but he rallied back to close the gap. I guess he was to fit on the day. I'm not disappointed at all because this is my first Two Oceans and the race had respected athletes like Bongumusa Mthembu so it shows regarding the level of competition that was here. I'm so pleased with the results," said the man who is coached by Prodigal Kumalo.
The man from Howick in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands who came agonizingly close to securing a top 10 finish, when he was 11th in the 2019 Comrades Marathon says he is eyeing a strong return to the race this August. "The future plans remain the Comrades Marathon for me. That hasn't changed so I'm hoping to line up in this year's event," said the reigning Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi 52km Champion.
After becoming the first ever Hollywoodbets Athletic Club runner to finish in a podium position at the World's Most Beautiful Ultra Marathon, Mhlakwana says he will need to take some time off. "I'm going to relax now a bit after this race. Then will try to prepare for the race with my coach. Comrades is the race that is on my schedule to do this year," he concluded.