• Thathe Msimango

Mashele in the form of his life as he goes sub 28 minutes at KZNA Champs

Records tumbled at the Kings Park Stadium last night as Precious Mashele outclassed a quality field on the way to clocking a new personal best of 27:55 to win 10 000m on day one of the KwaZulu-Natal Athletics( KZNA) Track & Field Championships. Homeboy Mbuleli Mathanga was not far behind Mashele finishing in second place to set yet another provincial record of 28:03, which earned him the gold medal because the Gauteng athlete was not eligible to win the provincial title.

The 30-year-old Boxer Running Club athlete was ecstatic to dip under 28 minutes as this was the plan before the race. He believes the perfect weather conditions helped him to run the time. "I'm so happy that I have managed to run 27:55 " explains Mashele, who is coached by SA 10 000m record holder Hendrick Ramaaala. "My plan coming to this race was to run Sub 28 minutes which is what we achieved today. This is my personal best over the distance and the perfect weather conditions on the day assisted me to do well. I'm so happy with my performance," said an elated Mashele.


Mashele takes the bell on the way to a sub 28 minute clocking at the KZNA Championships at the Kings Park Stadium in Durban. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

The five-time SA cross country champion's next stop now is to compete in the Endurocard Invitational meeting in Stelleenbosch on Monday over 5 000m event. He is expected to battle out against mouth-watering field consisting of Stephen Mokoka, Philani Buthelezi, and Collen Malaudzi to name but a few. And he thinks racing against Mokoka will push him to another level, because he draws a lot of inspiration from South Africa's best distance runner of the current generation.

"I think I'm going to Stellenbosch on Monday," explains Mashele. "I'm going to run under 5 000m event with Mokoka, Rantso Makopane and Malaudzi. To be fair, I'm not going there to achieve any best time because I have been training hard for the marathon. And I don't have speed but only endurance. If I can run sub 13:30 then I would be happy. It's good that I would race with him (Mokoka) because he is a legend. I think if I can manage to stick with him from the start then that would be wonderful. It's not like I would be racing him but we would assist each other to run faster like I do with Mbuleli (Mathanga)," he said.


Mathanga and Mashele pose for a photo together after a thrilling race which saw the former crowned 2021 KZNA 10 000m champion. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

The Limpopo-born athlete remains uncertain about whether or not he will be able to make his marathon debut and qualify for the Olympic Games. Mashele has been invited to race the NN Mission Hamburg Marathon in Germany next month, but Covid19 travel restrictions are threatening to end his hopes of being in Tokyo in July. He is has been struggling to get a Visa and hopes the government will have a positive response next week.

"I'm indeed struggling with the Visa," revealed Mashele. "I have been training hard doing mileage in order to get ready for the marathon. And I was positive that I would run 2:08 with the training I have been putting in. We are still waiting for the government though regarding our Visa application which we will hopefully get by next week Monday. If I can't manage to go I would be disappointed but another opportunity will present itself in the future," he said.

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