Mathibelle eyes Mandela marathon glory

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Moorosi Tsiane

LONG distance runner Tsepo Mathibelle says he is confident of doing better in the annual Nelson Mandela Day Marathon penned in for 25 August 2019 in Pietmaritzburg.

Covering 42.2 kilometres from Pietermaritzburg’s Imbali Township, where Nelson Mandela made his last speech as a free man prior to his arrest, to Howick, where he was finally captured, the race gives participants an opportunity to honour the great man’s legacy through sport.

Last year Mathibele failed to finish the race and had to pull out despite his healthy lead after the 38-kilometre mark due to uncomfortable running shoes.

But the 2017 Soweto Marathon winner says the challenges are water under the bridge now and he has already started his preparations as he hopes to compensate for last year’s disappointment.

“I have been hard at work this year preparing for this race,” Mathibelle said.

“I will be making my second appearance this year after a disappointing withdrawal with five kilometres to go last year.

“I had problems with my shoes and I couldn’t carry on running. I couldn’t run on a tarred road without shoes but that is water under the bridge now.”

Mathibelle said he will also participate in a local 21-kilometre race organised by the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) later this month and use the platform as part of his preparations from the Mandela Marathon.

“I have heard that the LAAA is organising a half marathon in Mafeteng this month and I want to go and run there as part of my preparations before going to South Africa.”

He added that he is also hoping to reclaim his Soweto Marathon crown after coming second last year.

“Last year I failed to defend my Soweto Marathon title as I came second but this year I think I am ready to reclaim it in when the race takes place,” Mathibelle said.

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