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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'It was something I really wanted' - Makatisi runs Lesotho 10km record at Absa GQEBERHA 10K

While the East African women dominated the second annual Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K yesterday, there was some Southern African success. Lesotho’s Blandina Makatisi who ran with the bunch that tried to chase down eventual winner Diana Chepkorir on a windy day, hung on for fifth place to set a new national record. Makatisi crossed the finish line in 32:05 to dip just one second under the previous mark that had been set by Neheng Khathala in 2022.

“Diana led from the start and I decided to go with the other ladies, but after about 2km I felt their pace was too fast for me and I dropped and ran alone. I saw at the 7km mark that I had an opportunity to break the national record. But at 8km I felt tired and started to lose hope. But I pushed I could see that the chance for the record was still there. I’m very happy about my PB and the national record that I ran today. It was something that I really wanted,” she told #TheTopRunner.

Makatisi is all smiles after setting yet another national record for Lesotho. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

The two records to which the Maxed Elite top runner alludes, includes the 1:09:45 21km clocking that she set at last year’s Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon. Asked to pinpoint the success that has seen her go from a 34-minute to a 32-minute in just two years, the 29-year-old says at the end of 2022 she resolved to give her best which she has been able to do with the great support she receives from her entire team.

“Last year, I told myself that I want to work hard. With the All Africa Games, the World Championships and the Olympics coming up, I told myself that I want to be included in one of those teams. Thank you to Mr Price Sport and the Lesotho National Olympic Committee. I’d also like to thank my coach Martin Ngwenya because ever since I started working with him things are going very well because I have broken two national records since I started working with him.”

Makatisi and Lesotho's 42km record holder Neheng Khatala go head to head during the 2023 Hollywoodbets Durban 10k. Photo Credit: Hollywood AC Media.

Having represented The Mountain Kingdom at the 2023 World Championships and last months All-African Games all that remains for the women who took eighth place in a lifetime best 2:36:05 in the marathon at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, is to live out her Olympic dream. And even though her best effort over 42,2km is almost 10 minutes slower than the automatic qualification standard of 2:26:50, Makatisi remains hopeful that she can get close to the qualification standard at the Vienna City Marathon on 21 April.

"We are in the process of trying to qualify for the Olympic Games. We are running out of time but we have one last chance to race a European marathon. I think it's a bit easier to run fast times overseas than it is here because the races tend to be during the European spring when the weather conditions are favourable. Also the courses are also fast which makes it easier to run the qualifying standard."

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