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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Mathanga to race World record holder Kiplimo in India

South African long distance running sensation Mbuleli Mathanga has received an invitation of a lifetime to race in the Dehli Half Marathon on the 16th of October in India. The race which was first introduced in 2005, boasts a mouthwatering lineup of elite athletes this year which includes Jacob Kiplimo. The Ugandan is the world record holder over the distance with a blistering time of 57:31 which he posted last year in Lisbon, Portugal. Plus Kiplimo is the reigning world half marathon champion.

Mathanga racing in Italy last year where he ran his fastest ever half marathon. Photo Credit: Rome Half Marathon.

Although he raced overseas in places such as Italy and Saudi Arabia in 2021, this will be the biggest test for Mathanga who holds a personal best time of 1:00:17 over 21km. The news was confirmed by his coach Mdu Khumalo last night. "We are pleased that Mathanga has received a lifetime opportunity to race in Dehli Half Marathon in India in the upcoming weeks," said an elated Khumalo.

"This is big news for him. He is going to be on the same line-up with record holder Kiplimo on the day. That alone will be a life-changing moment for him. This also proves that his performances don't go unnoticed. We need to see more South African runners to go shoulder to shoulder with more world-class athletes. The field of invited athletes at the event will help him to gain valuable experience to take his career to the next level," said the founder of Phantane Athletics Club.

Khumalo insists he wants the enjoy the day without worrying about the result because 2022 has been a good year for both him and his athletes. He was also announced as a finalist in the Coach of the Year category by the KwaZulu-Natal Sports Awards on Tuesday.

2022 has been a great year for Mdu Khumalo. He was also selected as the coach of the SA team that represented the country at the IAU 100km Championships in Berlin. Here he is pictured (far right) running with some of the team members before the race. Photo Credit: ASA Media.

"I think that sums up how good this year was for us. Mathanga defended both his 10 000m and Cross Country titles this year. Plus he posted a PB in 10km so to get this invite will be a huge step toward concluding the year on a high. He is now representing the whole nation there. This is a good year for me as well as my athletes. The next focus is to keep them consistent to achieve big things in life. We need to push hard to strive for good results," he said.

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