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  • Writer's pictureCharles Baloyi

Molotsane disappointed that cross country has been postponed

Road running queen Kesa Molotsane can't hide her disappointment after the Cross Country Trials due to take place in Potchefstroom at the weekend, were called off. Athletics South Africa (ASA) has postponed all its national activities for two weeks due to the second wave of Covid-19 that has hit the country. Although they will review their decision on 7 February, Molotsane fears that more races will suffer the same fate. Molotsane who turned 29 two weeks ago, will not be able to fulfil her birthday wish of running in the 10km event in the North West. She was looking forward to continuing her rivalry with Glenrose Xaba of Boxer Running Club in the North West province.

Kesa Molotsane running the race she loves - The Spar Ladies Grand Prix Series. Photo Credit: Kesa Molotsane.

"I have a healthy rivalry with her and the other runners. We push each other, and we both wanted to run at the weekend," admitted Molotsane. Last year, she was named Spar Challenge women's 10km Grand Prix Series ambassador. But she collected her pay cheque without executing her role as ambassador following the cancellation of the Spar Ladies races because of the Coronavirus. Even though the supermarket giant has not indicated if she would continue in that role in 2021, Molotsane is hoping to remain part of this series in order to inspire women all over the country to live active and healthy lives.

Molotsane in a photo shoot for the Spar Ladies 10km Grand Prix Series. Photo Credit: Kesa Molotsane.

" When I saw the cancellation email, I nearly fainted. I don't think that races will return anytime soon. I fear that it will take a while before we are allowed to run again. I fear for the worst. We got off to a shocking 2021, and it is not getting better," said a worried Molotsane.

The University of Free State athletics administrator is also worried that her sponsor Asics might dump her due to the lack of races. The sports equipment company has stuck with her through thick and thin, but she cannot help but worry about the future.

"Sponsors are running at a loss and might terminate contracts. I feel for the runners that rely on athletics alone as their source of income. I can survive by the salary that I earn by working at the University. I am also worried about my fitness. I am not in good shape and was hoping to run the weekend event to gauge my fitness. Things are going sour, and I feel like there is no hope," she lamented.

The Murray and Roberts Running Club athlete is grateful for the monthly stipend she gets from her club. Molotsane thanked her club for helping them to put food on the table during these difficult times. She enjoys juggling work and running after graduating from being a student-athlete to a senior administrator at the University. "Athletics is a calling for me. I love it and also enjoy my job. At first, it was a challenge to juggle the two, but I am enjoying it now. I am enjoying the journey and wish that it never ends," she said.

Molotsane turned 29 on the 8th of January. Photo Credit: Murray & Roberts Running Club.

But the thought of not running the Spar ladies this year is unthinkable. She is praying that the biggest and longest running ladies road race in the country will return to the streets this year. "I miss running as a whole and being around people. My life revolves around athletics, and without it, it feels empty," she shared. When asked if she is still keen to qualify for the Olympic Games in the 5 000m and 10 000m events, she said her preparations have been adversely affected by the lockdown. "I prefer to take it one day at a time. There are no guarantees that the Olympics will take place. My preparations have been disturbed by the pandemic. I pray to God for life to get back to normal," she added. The Olympics will take place in Tokyo, Japan, in July after being rescheduled from 2021 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

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