'My body is responding well. I will get those 3 seconds soon' - Mathanga aims for new 10km PB
Mbuleli Mathanga is convinced that it's just a matter of time before he becomes the latest South African to run under 28 minutes for 10km. The reigning SA 10 000m champion took sixth place during the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10km in a new lifetime best of 28:03 a fortnight ago to come agonizingly close to breaking 28 minutes for the first time. Although happy with that result which saw him finish as the second South Africa behind Maxime Chaumeton, Mathanga says he has unfinished business - those three seconds must go.
"I was very happy to run a new personal best, especially in such a big race. Thank you very much. I had a bad patch during my running a few months ago but it looks like my form is returning to what it was last year. I think I lost those three seconds with 2km left go. Something caused me to lose focus and when I tried to push again, I couldn't regain my rhythm. But let's hope that those three seconds will come soon," he told #TheTopRunner.
Having enjoyed a stellar 2021 which saw him set a new KwaZulu-Natal Athletics 10 000m record (28:03.45) and run under 61 minutes for the half marathon for the first time, the 28-year old had expected to kick on in 2022. His form has been patchy though because while he did defend his SA 10 000m title and manage a seventh place finish over 25 laps of the track at the African Championships in Mauritius (29:40.86), he was run out of a podium finish at the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon and was unable to dip under 28 minutes for 10 000m.
But his performance over 10km in his hometown on the 10th of July leaves him reenergised. Having run shoulder to shoulder with Chaumeton for much of the race the Phantane Athletics Club top runner now knows that sub a 28 minute 10km clocking is possible, especially if his coach Mdu Khumalo can get him a start in a fast 10km race abroad similar to where he had run his previous PB of 28:18 in the Czech Republic back in 2019.
"I can feel that my body is ready, it is now responding well. I can see that things are coming together and there's nothing that I am missing. I believe that I will be able to get those three seconds soon especially if I can get a 10km race overseas. For now things are looking promising for the rest of the year," he smiled.
Mathanga is expected to race again at the national 10km champiionships which have been scheduled to take place on the 13th of August in Pretoria West at the new and improved Pilditch Stadium.