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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'What a classic race!' - Mphahlele and Tshite deliver another masterclass, while Nowe goes sub 2 minutes at Cape Milers

Fresh from setting a new national record for the road mile, South African middle distance star Ryan Mphahlele set the University of the Western Cape track alight at the final Cape Milers Club/Endurocad World Athletics Challenger Series Meet in Cape Town last night. And as if running running a season's best 3:33.52 just two days after 3:56.45 wasn't demanding enough, the two performances were 13 000km apart. King Ryan says he was able to bounce back from his exertions at the Adizero Road to Record in Germany quickly because of what he did during his cross continental flight from Europe to the southern tip of Africa.

"The smartest thing I did was sleeping throughout the whole flight," he told #TheTopRunner moments after his fabulous run in Belville. "It was a sixteen hour flight so I actually slept for fourteen hours and woke up two hours before we landed. The sleep actually did some good. Then coming into race the body was feeling good and I went for a massage after I arrived. It actually worked for me. I guess the mind was still positive."

Mphahlele and Tshite put deliver another classic 1500m battle at the Cape Milers Club/Endurocad World Athletics Challenger Series Meet on 29 April. Photo Credit: Gallo Images.

That positivity was plain to see in the way that the 25-year-old from Thembisa attacked the race. Running behind pacemaker Keegan van der Merwe, Mphahlele led at the bell with Tshepo Tshite on his shoulder. The two men who represented South Africa at the World Championships last year then looked to repeat their sensational battle which got them that qualification time at the same meet last year. In the end the pair just missed out on dipping under 3:33:50 as Mphahlele was only two one hundredths of a second outside the mark, while Tshite finished in 3:33.76.

"What a classic race! I wasn't really sure that I was going to win. I tried to take it all the way to the end. We love racing one another and it was nice to take it all the way to the finish. Credit must go to Tshepo - he's a good fighter. It's always nice to know that he's gonna push me all the way to the end. We actually had a chat before the race and we planned it that he will push the last lap and he did that, so credit to him."

A national record for Nowe and a personal best for Swart in a thrilling women's 800m. Photo Credit: Gallo Images.

That men's 1500m race was one two events that saw the winner missing out on automatic Olympic qualification by a matter of split seconds. Having already secured his Olympic spot, Botswana's Ketlhobogile Haingura won the men's 800m in 1:44:73, just three one hundredths of a second outside the qualification mark of 1:44.70, while his compatriot Oratile Nowe broke the magical two minute barrier for the first time. Paced by training partner Prudence Sekgodišo to a fast 1:59.69, which was a new national record, Nowe remains in search of that elusive Olympic qualifier of 1:59.30.

"I'm so happy about my performance. The pacing was perfect. I had. to fight against Charne Swart (2:00.71) at the end. It's like that sometimes, you can't allow yourself to beaten easily. Today's plan was to run sub 2 minutes, so even though I didn't manage to qualify, I'm still happy. I remain hopeful that I'll qualify because the season is only starting now."

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