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Mixed feelings about Cape Town marathon amongst local runners

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“You must pace yourself. Running and training are not the same. At running you do your utmost"

Picture: Neville Motlhabakwe

Two pacemakers from last year’s Cape Town Marathon return to the start line for next Sunday’s 42km dash through the city, but this time with their sights firmly set on the podium, rather than floating the boat for their fellow passengers.

Johannesburg-based Desmond Mokgobu and Namibian Helalia Johannes experienced radically different outcomes to their pacing endeavours 12 months ago, but this time the competition for podium places will be real for both athletes.

The Hendrick Ramaala-coached Mokgobu suffered food poisoning on the eve of the marathon last year and was forced to quit after just six kilometres, while Johannes came within a hair’s breadth of a dramatic victory, only being overhauled by eventual winner, Betelhem Moges of Ethiopia, in the final kilometre, and losing by just six seconds.

Both are tipped for race honours. Commonwealth marathon gold-medallist, Johannes, is a strong favourite for line honours in the women’s race while Mokgobu is a top five contender in the powerful men’s field.

Meanwhile, the marathon has had a mixed reception among the Diamond City’s known long distance runners.

Galeshewe Athletics Club runner, Mase Letimela-Mogorosi, who recently placed within the top rankings of female runners at the last Comrades marathon in Durban, said she will give the Cape Town run a miss this time. Instead she will do the shorter fun run at the Taung Cultural festival that takes place around the same time.

Speaking to the DFA yesterday she said that deciding to do a marathon was not a simple choice. “It (the Sanlam marathon) killed me the last time. I did it and then followed up immediately with the Taung run.

“I can’t make it this time,” she said.

“You must pace yourself. Running and training are not the same. At running you do your utmost. When you are running you are sometimes in a stampede. But at training you take baby steps,” she added.

Sammy Beise, a detective with the local SAPS and a veteran of the long distances, said he will be going – work pressure permitting. Beise said he was keen to go and has already registered for the Cape Town event.

However, several pressing issues concerning his work might interfere with his plan to take part in the Cape marathon. “I am in Durban now on work-related matters and will be around here probably for six months,” he said.

Athletics Griqualand West coach and occasional masters runner Theo Senekal Snr said he will give the race a miss. However, he said that he was aware of two other members of his club who are going to the Cape event.

Vodacom Kimberley Road Runners secretary Magda Oldewage said she will not make it to the race, but said that several members of the local club will be at the race.