'It was a team effort' says SA 10km Champ Precious Mashele after winning ABSA Durban 10k CITYRUN
Precious Mashele was quick to praise his teammates moments after out-kicking Stephen Mokoka (28:15) to win the ABSA Durban 10k CITYRUN. Mashele's winning time of 28:11 was set up by a brave run from Mashele's Zoo Lake Group training partner Maxime Chaumeton who led from the gun allowing the SA 21km champion to come from behind and claim a maiden SA 10km title.
"I can say we used tactics from training," Mashele told journalists after his victory. "I told Maximo that Mokoka is just from running a marathon two weeks ago so we can't let him settle into a rhythm. We need to keep a high rate from the start so that he can't out-sprint us. Then from 9km to go I took the lead and kicked for home," explained the man who won his third national title of the year this morning.
Even though he is a five-time SA Cross Country champion, 2021 has in many ways been a breakthrough year for the Limpopo-born top runner. The SA 5000m title was followed up by a maiden appearance at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he enjoyed the unfortunate honour of being the only South African to qualify for a middle distance event. Mashele thanks his coach Hendrick Ramaala for that, saying he encouraged him to keep on going.
"Last year during the lockdown, I wanted to give up. But thank you to coach Hendrick Ramaala and his wife Rodica Moroianu for encouraging me and helping me with food and accommodation," he shared. Mashele also dropped a bombshell earlier this week when he revealed that he had left Nike for Puma. And for this he thanked Stillwater Sports MD Michael Meyer who brokered the deal.
Having celebrated his birthday just over two weeks ago, the 31 year old walks away with a handsome prize purse with which to celebrate - R15 000 for winning the ABSA Durban 10k CITYRUN plus another R6 000 for winning the SA 10km title in the colours of Central Gauteng Athletics. For his efforts in leading from the front Chaumeton earned a new personal best of 28:30 when he finished in fifth place, four seconds behind third placed Collen Mulaudzi with Rehgen Magwai in fourth.
In the women's race, 20-year old KwaZulu Natal sensation Tayla Kavanagh led from the gun to win the race in the scorching new personal best time of 32:10 which propels her into the fifty fastest female 10km runners this year. Lesotho's Khathala Neheng who like Kavanagh is coached by Andrew Booyens was second (32:18) with Kesa Molotsane rounding out the top three with her best ever 10km clocking (32:51).