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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'It's tough' - Neheng Khathala on juggling school with athletics & the Absa CAPE TOWN 10K

Just two weeks after running the second fastest marathon time of her career, Neheng Khathala will line up for her first Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series race of 2024. Lesotho’s national record holder over 42,2km clocked 2:28:37 to take tenth position at the Hamburg Marathon at the end of April and has confirmed that she has been recovering well and will be lining up at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Cape Town 10K on 12 May.


“The second half of the race was tough with a few small hills all the way to the finish. So that’s where I struggled. But then I was welcome looked after and made it to the finish. For recovery, I’ve just been jogging and seeing the physio - the usual stuff, nothing much,” she explained.


Khathala is looking forward to runnign her first race of the 2024 Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series in the Mother City on Mother's Day. Photo Credit: Action Photo.

That she managed to produce the second fastest marathon clocking of her career - just 31 seconds faster than the national record she set in 2021 is a big boost for the University of the North Wets student who has had to strike a difficult balance between the life of a full-time student and elite athlete.


"My coach is very happy that I decided to go back to school. I must admit though that it's not easy. It's very tough trying to balance school with running. But I have a strong support structure. For example my friend Masechaba helps me with some of my assignments and the lecturers are also supportive. My Hollywood family have also been supportive. I think people can see the effort I'm putting in at school and in training. Some times I go to sleep late - it's a mess. I wanted to qualify for the Olympics but I didn't and they continue to encourage me. I just keep telling myself that one day it will be worth it."


Khathala on her way to setting Lesotho's national marathon record of 2:28:06 at the Killarney Raceway in Cape Town in 2021. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

This determined outlook on life coupled with her experience will make Khathala a dangerous competitor when she lines up at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Cape Town 10K on Mother's Day. In 2022 she ran a personal best 32:06 in The Mother City, while last year she finished in third place. This time around though, the Olympian doesn’t have a target time in mind saying only that she will see how she feels on the day. 


“For Cape Town, I’ll just see how the body feels on the day and then I’ll take it from there. I don’t have a pre-determined objective to run a certain time. I will just run according to how the body responds.”

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