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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'We are moving in the right direction here in SA' - Khumalo on Hollywoodbets Durban Summer 10k

In a country where the last sub 2:07 marathon (2:06:55) was run by Hendrik Ramaala in the year 2006 and Gert Thys' national record of 2:06:33 has stood for 23 years, Mdu Khumalo believes the key to getting South Africans to be competitive on the world marathon stage once again is investing in the shorter distances. It is for this reason that he has praised Hollywoodbets for backing the Hollowywoodbets Durban Summer 10k which produced a host of fast times today including a 28:12 winning time for Precious Mashele.

Mashele wins the 2022 Hollywoodbets Durban summer 10km at the Kings Park Stadium. Photo Credit: Hollywoodbets AC.

"We are very happy with the way the race went today," said Khumalo who is also the Race Director for the 10km event which took place on a lightening fast course at the Kings Park Stadium. "When you look at the time that Precious and the rest of the guys in the top 10 ran, it shows that we are moving in the right direction here in South Africa. What we have done today is inspired by races like the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series and we would like to reach that level one day."

Specifically, Khumalo who is also the founder of Phantane Athletics Club and coach of 28:03 10km runner Mbuleli Mathanga, is encouraged by the fact that races such as the Hollywoodbets Durban Summer 10k, the Absa RUN YOUR CITY series and the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon provide middle distance specialists with the opportunity to earn an income without having to upgrade to 42,2km and the ultra marathons. Khumalo says keeping young athletes in the 10km ranks for longer will eventually make them internationally competitive when they finally move up in distance.

Khumalo coaching Hollywoodbets AC youngster Tshiamo Maribe. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

"The point is to keep the boys from rushing into racing long distances, so that tomorrow we can have professionals that we are proud of. When we talk about events like the World championships or Olympics we must know that the team that we will be sending there will do us proud. So we as race organisers must do our best to protect these boys because it is chasing money that forces them to end up taking on longer distances when they are not ready. So if we put money and invest in these shorter distances, I think it is good," he explained.

From R15 000 for the 2021 victors, Mashele and Cacisile Sosibo (33:07) pocketed R30 000 each as the sponsors doubled the prize money on offer in 2022. Mashele beat fellow Boxer Athletic club top runner Thabang Mosiako (28:22) into second as marathon specialist Tebello Ramakgongoana (28:40) hung on for a very good third place in the colours of Xcel Running Club. Mosiako took R17 000 for being the runner-up, while Ramakgongoana earned R12 000. In the women's race Sosibo secured a major scalp in beating multiple SA Champion Glenrose Xaba into second (33:49) as the ever-improving Hollywoodbets AC's Nontokozo Mkhize secured a podium finish for the home club as she just lost to Xaba in a sprint finish.

Thousands of runners lineup at the start of the 2022 Hollywoodbets Durban Summer 10k. Photo Credit: Hollywoodbets AC.

Apart from the elite performers, Khumalo who was recently named coach of the year at the KZN Sports Awards, was also impressed with the number of social runners and walkers that took part. From 800 runners in the inaugural race last November, over 2000 revellers took on the 10km today. "I'm actually shocked at the number of people that turned out. When I looked at the masses at the start, it was quite a site because we had 2400 participants this year. It shows that the race is growing well," he concluded.

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