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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Kekana to face the big guns during 42,2km debut at Durban International Marathon

Milton Kekana is hoping to make a powerful introduction to the marathon distance when lining up for his debut over the 42,2km distance at the Durban  International Marathon tomorrow (Sunday 28 April). The race which incorporates the Athletics South Africa National Championship as well as the CAA Champs boasts an impressive list of elite athletes as many try and secure that elusive Olympic birth before the qualification window closes at the end of April. Despite having to line up against the likes of Elroy Gelant and Melikhaya Frans, Kekana is determined to leave his mark on the race.

"I think we have have done all that is required to be in great shape and get ready for race day. I'm happy that my body has responded very well to the training program set by my coach. Now its all about applying all the basics and everything we discussed," said the 29-year-old who belongs to the Xcel Running Club and is mentored by the legendary Stephen Mokoka who will also be running the race in the colours of the Hollywood Athletics Club.

Kekana (far right) poses with Mokoka, Mzazi and Fortunate Chidzivo ahead of the 2024 Durban International Marathon. Photo Credit: Supplied.

With R75 000 up for grabs, expect the race for the top ten to be cut throat. But even though the man who is the holder of a 1:02:13 half marathon personal best will be making his maiden marathon voyage, the 2019 World University Games 10 000m champion's background over the shorter distances gives him confidence that he can dip under his target of 2:15, which should be good enough for a top ten finish.

"For now, I wouldn't say I'm nervous at all. I know its a new distance which I'm not familiar with but I remain calm in all of this. In fact I'm excited to finally get going over the marathon. I would say its exciting times ahead. In the end, I have learned from the best athletes around me which I'm training with them. So their support has been excellent since I shared the news that I'm going for the marathon. I have been preparing for this race for a long time."

Milton Kekana at the OR Tambo International Airport after returning from Italy with the 2019 World University Games title. Photo Credit: Supplied.

"I would take anything below 2:15, it would be a great start. Let's hope the weather conditions on the day are going to be on our side. Then if I can finish inside top 10, that would be huge." 

In addition to Mokoka, Gelant and Frans, Kekana will also be up against Simon Sibeko who finished on the podium last year, former SA 5000m champion Gladwin Mzazi as well as a handful of dangerous invited East Africans including 33-year-old Tigabu Gebramariam of Ethiopia with a lifetime best time of 2:10:15 and Kenya's Bernard Rotich who has 2:10:18 personal best time.

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