Mathibelle ends year in high note

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Leemisa Thuseho

LONG distance runner, Tšepo Mathibelle, closed his 2021 campaign in style after coming third in the Nelson Mandela Bay 1 City Marathon in Port Elizabeth last weekend.

Mathibelle, who was running his last race for the year, clocked 2:16:51, three minutes slower than his personal best of 2:13:50. He pocketed M7000 for his troubles.

South Africa’s Mphatyo Nodolo finished first (2:16:04) while his compatriot, Tonny Skink (2:16:24), cane second. Nodolo and Skink pocketed M15 000 and M10 000 respectively.

Lesotho’s Namakoe Nkhasi finished fourth (2:17:37) and he took home M3500.

Mathibelle told the Lesotho Times this week that he enjoyed the race because of the ideal weather conditions. He therefore, managed to achieve his goal of making it into the top-five.

“I enjoyed the race because of the brilliant weather in Nelson Mandela Bay on the day,” Mathibelle said.

“My only challenge was that my preparations were poor because of poor preparations. I would have loved to get challenging training terrains but I failed.”

Having led the pack from 27 kilometres, he said he performed exceptionally for a good part of the race and was only knocked off his perch at the 38-kilometre peg due to fatigue.

“My competitors only took advantage of my fatigue and launched an attack.”

This was Mathibelle’s fourth race this year after the South Africa Championships in May, the Matatiele 10km race in October and the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in October.

Mathibelle is now looking forward to next when his next major assignment would be qualifying for the World Championships as well Commonwealth Games qualification.

“The weekend race was my last for this year and from now on, I will be focusing on preparing for next year’s races. Given the few races I have had this year, I now know where to improve, so I am hoping for the best next year.

“My target next year is to qualify for the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships,” Mathibelle said.

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