'We have already planned our splits' Mashele aims for new PB at Absa RYC Durban 10k
Glancing at the top 50 10km performances by men on South African soil will reveal the name of Precious Lesiba Mashele well inside the best top twenty performances of all time. Just one place behind his coach Hendrick Ramaala who occupies number eleven thanks to the 28:09 he ran in Durban in November 1996, is Mashele in number twelve courtesy of the 28:11 he produced to win the 2021 Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10k. And he believes that he can improve on his personal best when he takes on the race again this Sunday.
"We have already planned our splits so we just want to balance the pace and run sub 28 or if sub 28 is not possible then 28 zero something," explained the man who represented the country at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year and has once again been chosen to wear the green and gold at the World Championships which get underway in Eugene, Oregon on the 15th of July.
While the exact nature of the splits remain a closely guarded secret, the Boxer Athletics Club top runner did let slip that he would be assisted by his training partners to achieve what would be a new lifetime best that could see him move up into the top 10 best 10km performances ever recorded on SA soil. Just as was the case last October, it means that 28:30 10km runner and SA 5000m bronze medalist Maxime Chaumeton could be expected to once again lead the bunch assisted by Nicholas Seoposengwe who took tenth last year and Olympic Marathoner Desmond Mokgobu who ran a 28:35 PB at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10k in May.
"We are still going to do our strategy because we train together. We have been practising the splits, so in Durban we want to run together so we can run a fast time. I think it's possible because we have been training together. I think it's possible because our training has gone well and all of my training partners are fit," he warned.
While Mashele will be assisted by his Zoo Lake Group training partners of Chaumeton and Seoposengwe, Stephen Mokoka is expected to work closely with his Sponge Group training partners of Reghen Magwai and Collen Mulaudzi. Mokoka and Mulaudzi took second and third behind Mashele in Durban last year and are both dangerous competitors. But the are questions about the legendary Mokoka's fitness after he withdrew from the World Championship marathon because of injury.
And if Mokoka ends up missing the race then it means that all eyes will be on Mashele as he tries to go with the invited sub 28 minute 10km East African runners. Asked about how deals with the attentions of other athletes during the race, the man affectionately known as The Machine said it's flattering. "It makes me feel very special. It means that they take me very seriously and recognize the threat I pose. That's why they follow me. They know that I will push them to get a good time. They believe in me."