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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Karabo Mailula ready for World Cross Country Champs as she aims for more success in 2024

When Athletics South Africa named the team that will represent the country at the World Cross Country Championships in Serbia next month, the squad included many of the usual suspects. The likes of Glenrose Xaba, Cacisile Sosibo, Tayla Kavanagh and Kyla Jacobs who have all donned the green and gold at senior level before all made the cut. But one name in the senior women's team that many may not be familiar with is that of Karabo Mailula.

In the absence of the likes of Xaba and Sosibo, the 21-year-old won the senior women's 10km title at last year's SA Championships to earn the opportunity of a first senior international debut. Mailula who trains alongside Glenrose Xaba under the watchful eye of Violet Raseboya and Caster Semenya, says she is ready for the season ahead.

Mailula on the way to winning the senior women's 10km race (36:46) at the 2023 ASA Cross Country Championships on a blustery day in Gqeberha to claim her first national title. Photo Credit: Petrus Rademeyer Photography.

"The fitness is going well," she told #TheTopRunner. "I was struggling with my speed but body is responding now and I have improved. This year I also want to win the USSA Cross Country Championships which take place in February to qualify for the World USSA Cross Country Champs," said the University of Pretoria student.

Having passed a 5000m fitness test which was conducted by ASA at the Pilditch Stadium on the 20th of January, Mailula is confident of continuing the upward curve that saw her claim eighth place (35:04) at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY TSHWANE 10K last August. The young lady who was first spotted by legendary top-runner-turned-coached Nixon Nkodima in the Pretoria township of Mabopane as a junior says racing the best over 10km, has motivated her to take it to the next level in 2024.

"My goal this year is to run more PB's and go sub 32 minutes over 10km. My plan this year is to run maybe 4 Absa RUN YOUR CITY races and also add SPAR Ladies. I wish to run well in the SPAR Ladies and the Absa races because I can see now that my times have improved and I think I can finish in the top ten. What I love about these races is that we experience a lot of things like running with professional athletes from other countries."

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