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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

"Not just the win - record breaking run" says Jonas Makhele as prize money for Nedbank 50km goes up

Following his excellent performance last year, Jonas Makhele believes that he can go one better in the 2022 edition of The Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50 km ultramarathon. Running in the colours of an amateur club, the then Waterfall Athletics Club runner surprised many when he finished second behind Ethiopia’s Ketema Negasa in 2:42:15 which was inside the world record but just 8 seconds slower than the East African. And with a handsome purse of R280 000 for winning the race in a new world record time, Makhele is determined to bag all the cash this time around.

Makhele poses with his medal after finishing as runner-up in last year's race to become the South African 50km record holder. Photo Credit: Waterfall AC.

"Not just the win," he told #TheTopRunner after a speed session on the track. "Not only the win, but record-breaking." The 40-year old's confidence is based on the clock. Having just started his 2022 season, Makhele is focussing on speed work after building a strong base of mileage in late 2021. He believes that this approach will carry him to victory in possibly the first ever sub 2:42 50km clocking on planet earth.

"My fitness is coming on well. I've been busy with mileage and this is only my third speed session," he said shortly after completing a 5000m race at the CGA Open Meet last week in 9th place. "I ran well because I ran 15:23. I'm happy. I saw that I am on the right track," said the man who's performance in the 2021 Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km saw him return to his former manager Nick Bester who was forced to recall him to the Nedbank Running Club after a year with an amateur club.

After his fabulous run last year, Makhele has rejoined Nedbank Running Club. Photo Credit: Jonas Makhele.

Bester also doubles as the Race Director for the event which takes place in Gqeberha in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality where it will remain until 2024. As a former top runner himself, the 1991 Comrades Marathon champion has applauded Nedbank for increasing the total prize money to a whopping R1.225 million.

“With the introduction of the special prize money allocated to South African athletes, we want to encourage and motivate our country athletes to perform at their best. It is also an opportunity for them to earn extra prize money and try to make up for the loss of income they suffered the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will continue to host The Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50 km ultramarathon until 2024. Photo Credit: Nedbank Running Club.

The Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50 km ultramarathon takes place on the 6th of March in the Windy City. To boost South African participation, entries will be accepted until the 15th February 2022 and interested athletes will need to e-mail their running resumes to Follow the #NedbankRunified conversation on Nedbank’s social media platforms for more information on Nedbank Runified: Breaking Barriers, which will be broadcasted live on SuperSport channel 209 and Grandstand.

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