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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Makhanya to use 2021 Spar Women's 10km Grand Series to launch her comeback

Mapaseka Makhanya says she wants to use the 2021 Spar Ladies 10km Grand Prix Series to launch her comeback. Dressed in knee-high scarlet leather boots, the Sowetan cut a stunning figure at last night's glamorous launch of the Spar Women's Virtual Challenge. The winner of the 2013 10km Grand Prix series was one of several former champions including Rene Kalmer, The Phalula Twins and Glenrose Xaba who were in attendance at the The Maslow Hotel, Time Square in Pretoria. The Top Runners were excited to hear that the 2021 series will include both a virtual challenge and six real elite-only races and Makhanya says she now has something to work towards in her bid to reclaim the form she showed almost a decade ago.

Makhanya during the days when she dominated The Spar Ladies 10km Grand Prix Series. Photo Credit: Mapaseka Makhanya.

"At some point I wanted to shift my focus to something else like going to Comrades and Two Oceans but my heart is not there yet," shared the woman who struggled to find the desire to run after her brother passed away in 2019. "Olympics are a dream that was washed away and I have accepted that but I still want to represent South Africa at the World Championships next year. I had a race (marathon) in Italy that my sponsor Nike organised but due to their lockdown I couldn't go, and when these things happens you fall off and get disappointed and just stop training. That's what happened to me," she shared.

Makhanya at the launch of the 2021 Spar \women's Virtual Challenge. Photo Credit: MWMedia.

The lack of races and the grief she endured after losing a close family member saw Makhanya relegated from contender to also-ran. But the return of South Africa's most loved women's 10km series with an improved purse of R2 million in prize money has given Makhanya new motivation. "This is a motivation because it says to me let's keep on training. This year I am looking at running the Spar Ladies and maybe The Soweto Marathon if it happens. I'm hoping to go to the World Championships next year because I still feel I have something left in me to do in the marathon," said the woman who owns a 2:31:02 marathon personal best.

Despite her recent challenges which include splitting with her long-time coach Lungile Bikwani the 36-year old still believes she can rediscover the form that saw her represent the country at two World Cross Country Championships and win the 2013 SA Sportswoman of the year. "I am more pumped than ever. I'm happy. I'm content. More than you guys wanting to see that Mapaseka, I want to see her," she concluded.

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