"This generation is the one to run 27s" -Ramaala upbeat after Mashele & Mosiako's run at Absa CT 10K
With two sub 28 minutes 10km athletes in his stable (Precious Mashele and Maxime Chaumeton), Hendrick Ramaala is gaining prominence as a coach. Known for many years as the man who beat the East Africans to win the 2004 New York Marathon, the 51-year-old now spends more time polishing the next generation of South African middle and long distance champions. And after watching Mashele finish second (28:36) behind Kenya's Victor Kipruto (28:28) with Thabang Mosiako in third place (28:38) in this morning's Absa RUN YOUR YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K, Ramaala is a happy man.
"It was a tough day today. Last night we were hopeful that the wind would slow down, but there was no change and it disturbed the race," he told #TheTopRunner moments after Mashele took the runner-up position on a blustery day. "He ran well despite the conditions. He might not have won but he showed character. He fought because some of our guys failed to beat the conditions. So well done to Precious for giving the East Africans a fight."
The man who coaches his athletes at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg will be particularly pleased with today's result in The Mother City because his charge was once again on the podium as he did when he set a new national 10km record during the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K last month. This comes after Chaumeton made history when he because the first South African to run a 27 minute 10km on home soil last July.
"I think I've got the secret formula now. I learnt with the previous guys I trained. I learnt a lot with Desmond (Mokgobu), Precious and now Max. So the younger ones are actually beneficiaries because the only thing we have to do now is to go and look for talent, bring it in and use the formula on them - they are benefitting more. The guys who took time is the guys like Precious and Desmond because we learned with them."
Before turning to coaching, Ramaala competed at the very pinnacle of the sport earning consecutive silver medals at the World Half Marathon Championships and taking third place at the London Marathon in a personal best of 2:06:55 in the year 2006. Like Shadrack Hoff who won many 10km races against the Kenyans in the United States the Entsika Athletic Club coach got used to beating the Kenyans and Ethiopians and he is confident that it is only a matter of time before this generation of athletes start winning major races as was the case twenty and thirty years ago.
"Precious is up there with the Kenyans, he's one of them. So the only thing he needs to do now is to win. Just go out there and say today I'm winning, I'm not coming second. You know you just need a leader. Now we have Precious and Elroy before with Stephen. Precious is running fast and they're following in his footsteps because the whole country is running fast. In Gqeberha the top twenty was all sub 29 minutes. We are back to those days and we're going to better it because of opportunities like the Absa RUN YOUR CITY series. We have enough talent. This generation is the one to run 27's. Precious is gonna win and once he wins, Thabang will win, Max will win, Nico will win. We just need one to start the trend and then everybody follows," he said.
In the ladies race Kenya's Veronica Loleo controlled the race from start to finish to win in a commanding 31:38. Uganda's Docus Ajok (32:09) was second with Neheng Khatala of Lesotho taking third place (32:13). Boxer Athletic Club's Glenrose Xaba finished as the highest placed South African in sixth place (33:35).