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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Kubheka ends season with victory at Mandela Day Marathon 10km

With the Mandela Day Marathon being staged on Saturday 9 December for the first time in four years, athletes flocked in numbers despite the race not offering the traditional 42km distance which had attracted many top local and international top runners in the past. This year's event included a half marathon and the 10km event starting in Hilton and ending at the Mandela Capture Site in Howick. And as the 2023 road running season draws to an end, it was Sibusiso Kubheka who won the men's 10km with a composed run of 30:26 before being followed home two seconds later by Kameholo Mofolo and rising star Bongelani Mkhwanazi taking the third spot in 30:30. 

Kubheka, who made his breakthrough in 2021 when he claimed sixth place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon in a lifetime best 1:01:36, soon suffered a career-threatening injury which saw him sidelined for most part of last year before launching a comeback with victory at the Harry Gwala 10km in May. But soon after that encouraging result, the knee injury frustrated him again. Speaking to #TheTopRunner, the 26-year-old Xcel Running Club athlete expressed delight to end the year on a high note.

Kubheka is interviewed on the finish line after claiming victory. Photo Credit: KZN Department of Sports, Arts & Culture.

"I'm happy with how I have ended the year. This victory means a lot to me. This year has been hectic and difficult for me. So small things matter to me and this brings a smile to my face," explains Kubheka, who trains under the guidance of renowned coach Xolani Mabhida.

"Coming to the race, everything went perfectly. The route was kinda challenging though and the finishing times shows that. The competition in the field made us to push each other till the finish line. So I'm happy that the other competitors gave me a run for my money. In the end, I'm happy to have won."

Kubheka flanked by second placed finisher Kamohelo Mofolo of the Maxed Elite Running Club and third place Bongelani Mkhwanazi. Photo Credit: KZN Department of Sports, Arts & Culture.

The next assignment for Kubheka is to prepare for next year by completing an annual December training camp organized by his coach Mabhida in Pietermaritzburg. His goal for 2024 remains to improve his times over the shorter distances.

"My wish is to remain injury free next year. Then If that can happen, I aim to improve my times especially in the short distances like 10km. So I would focus on running the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series because it brings top class athletes. I won't go for a Marathon or Ultra marathon as yet without good times in the 10km distances. So that is my number one goal." 

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