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Mathanga to race in Saudi Arabia

Mbuleli Mathanga will get another taste of international racing when he takes part in the Khobar International Half Marathon on the 27th of November in Saudi Arabia. This is the third time he will race abroad race in the space of two months. In October, Mathanga ran a sensational Personal Best of 60:17 when he took the third position at the RomaOstia Half Marathon in Italy. He then did the pacemaking duties at the Venice Marathon a week later.

Mathanga crossing the finish line in third place at the RomaOstia Half Marathon on 17 October. Photo Credit: RomaOstia Half Marathon.

Speaking to #TheTopRunner Mdu Khumalo, who coaches Mathanga believes his athlete has earned recognition based on his podium finish in Italy. And he says the 28-year old is destined to do greater things in his career. "I'm honestly happy that he (Mathanga) is going to race in Saudi Arabia. This year has been a great year for him," said Khumalo, who is also the founder of Phantane Athletics Club.

"I think his performance in Roma sent a signal to many people to take notice of him. For any athlete to earn a podium finish in an international race is quite an achievement and something each athlete dreams of. I believe he is on the right path now to achieve a lot of things in his career as long as he stays humble," he said.

Mathanga's coach Mdu Khumalo believes he can run another personal best if the course is agreeable and the conditions are right on race day. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

Khumalo expects the reigning SA 10 000m Champion to go with the lead bunch on race day, adding that another podium finish would be a bonus. "The approach we are going to use on race day is to instruct Mathanga to stick with the leading batch of runners," he explained.

"This is the same strategy we use in most of our races. If he can stay close to those Kenyan runners then he stands a chance of clocking a personal best. I can't demand the time because I'm yet to get the correct route and the elite field invited so I can't raise too many expectations. But I'm positive he is doing well on race day," he concluded.

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