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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'It will be my final race before the Olympics' - Mokoka looks for fast time at Absa DURBAN 10K

With less than two months until the Olympic Games commence in Paris, three-time Olympian Stephen Mokoka has confirmed that the iconic Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K on Sunday 7 July 2024, will be his final race before competing in the Olympic Marathon five weeks later.

"The Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K is going to be a fitness checkup for me to see how my preparation has been going," explains Mokoka. "It will be my final race before the Olympics. It’s part of the plan to make sure that I will be at my best five weeks away from the Olympics. It will help me to decide where I am in terms of the preparation," said the man who is the holder of a 2:06:42 42.2km lifetime best.

Stephen Mokoka in action during the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K in May. Photo Credit: Action Photo.

His preparation for what will be his third attempt at the Olympic Marathon has been six months in the making. Mokoka began 2024 by taking on the Hong Kong Marathon in January, whose hilly course and humid weather mirrored the conditions he is likely to encounter on 10 August. A 2:12:58 finish for second place in Hong Kong, plus a debut at the Totalsports Two Oceans Ultra Marathon have left the 39-year-old strong. But is he still fast?

"My preparation has been going okay, especially since I have started introducing speed work after a period of speed endurance. Everything is looking good because the body is responding well and the legs are also responding well," said Mokoka, who is the holder of a 27:38 10km lifetime best.

That disclosure will be music to the ears of his supporters who have been concerned about Mokoka’s 10km form this season. In 2024, the Hollywood Athletic Club top runner’s best 10km effort was a modest 29:19 clocking at last month’s Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K. But Mokoka says it’s all about peaking at the right time and the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K is the right place to run fast.

Mokoka racing the Olympic Marathon at London 2012. He will line up for his third Olympic Marathon and fourth Olympic appearance at #Paris2024. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

"The Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series has the best 10km races in the country. I enjoy running them, specifically because I have been consistent in terms of my times and, I’m grateful that I managed to get sub 28 (last year). It’s always exciting because of the quality of the field and the incentives that are there to motivate us to try and run faster. That’s why I always come back. Sub 28 will be good, but I’ll take anything under 29 because at the end of the day I have to save up some energy for the Olympics."

"We are thrilled to have Stephen Mokoka participating in the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K as his final race before the Olympic Games," says Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports and Series Founder. "It’s fantastic to see the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series incorporated into the training schedules of South Africa’s elite runners. Stephen is a legend in the running community, and it’s an honour not only to have him on the start line but to also be part of his Olympic journey in 2024. We look forward to witnessing his exceptional performance and wish him all the best as he prepares for the Olympic Marathon."

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