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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I've been working hard for a long time' - Mashele shines at Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Precious Mashele underlined his status as the best 10km athlete in South Africa when he set the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K on fire with a new national record this morning. Running behind Kenya's Daniel Simui Ebenyo who started in his customary lightening fast fearless front-running fashion, Mashele produced a controlled race as he went through the halfway mark in 13:31 to finish in 27:35 just fourteen seconds behind Ebenyo who narrowly missed out on breaking the SA All-Comers record of 27:16. Mashele says after his top twenty finish at the World Cross Country Championships in February, he knew he was capable of breaking the record.

Having started off as Stephen Mokoka's training partner, Precious Mashele now under the guidance of Hendrick Ramaala has now taken over the mantle as the country's best 10km runner. Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg.

"It's true. Even Stephen (Mokoka) encouraged me during the race saying he thought I could go on to win it after a good start," he told #TheTopRunner. "My form came to light with my sixteenth position at the World Cross Country Champs. So it showed that I was in shape to run 27 minutes. I've been working hard for a long time. I even told you before the race that there is a possibility that I would run a new national record or at least run 27 minutes - that's how confident I was with my training," he said after eclipsing Stephen Mokoka's seven year old record by two seconds.

That Boxer Athletic Club man believes that he had the strength over the last 2km because of some changes he made to his training programme. In consultation with his coach Hendrick Ramaala and reflecting on the superlative performances in 2021, Mashele decided to follow a marathon training programme while adding a bit more speed-work to ensure that he was ready for the 2023 Absa RUN YOUR CITY series.

Kenya’s Daniel Ebenyo was chasing the SA Allcomers Record of 27:16 run by Joshua Cheptegei in 2018 but had to settle for his best time on South African soil, crossing the line in 27:21. Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg.

"I sat down with my coach and we decided to do a marathon training programme because when I qualified for the Olympics two years ago I was on a marathon training plan. So when I agreed to run all five of the Absa RYC races this year, I knew that I would have to do high mileage and high volume so that I can race the whole year without running out of steam. The main thing is to understand your body and not wait for the coach but consult fully with him. I knew that because I have been running for years, I could handle high mileage."

Having finally delivered on what many knew he was capable of especially after an injury-riddled 2022, the 32-year-old has now confirmed his place amongst the greats of South African road running. Mashele says his aim is to continue churning out world-class 10km runs in order to thank all those that have stood by him through thick and thin. "I think I want to use these five Absa races to promote Stillwater Sports who got me my contract with Puma as well as my club Boxer for their continued support," he said.

Bekelech Teku Wariyo (Ethiopia) claimed victory in the Women’s Race in in 31:36. PHOTO CREDIT: Tobias Ginsberg.

Almost as impressive as Mashele was Thabang Mosiako who smashed his personal best by over thirty seconds when he clocked 27:53 to finish third and become just the third South African after Mashele today and Maxime Chaumeton in 2022 to run a sub 28 10km on home soil. In an entertaining women's race, Ethiopia's Bekelech Wariyo (31:38) passed Kenyan Fridah Ndinda (31:41) metres from the finish line to record her first major victory over 10km. Glenrose Xaba in fourth place was the first South African home in the new personal best of 32:25.

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