Mokoka is pre­par­ing for an on­slaught

CityPress - - Sport - SIL­VER SIBIYA sil­ver.sibiya@city­press.co.za

South African 10km record holder Stephen Mokoka will be one of the run­ners head­lin­ing the FNB Joburg 10km CityRun on Septem­ber 24.

Ath­let­ics com­men­ta­tor Man­fred Sei­dler told City Press this week that Mokoka is one of the favourites to win the race.

“With­out a doubt, Stephen is by far the best mid­dle-dis­tance ath­lete in South Africa at the mo­ment,” said Sei­dler.

He said the Olympian was pre­par­ing for an on­slaught on his own na­tional 10km record of 27 min­utes and 38 sec­onds, which he set in Manch­ester, Eng­land, in 2015. The race is part of his prepa­ra­tion for the Dur­ban 10km Ci­tySur­fRun, and will be a good test for him to see what shape he is in.

Mokoka reg­u­larly par­tic­i­pates in the Run Your City series – he claimed gold at last year’s Cape Town 12 OneRun, and fin­ished sev­enth in the Joburg 10km.

He rel­ishes the op­por­tu­nity to race against the best in the world on home soil.

“We need to show South Africans how good we are. It is very im­por­tant to do that at home,” said Mokoka.

“It helps grow the sport by en­cour­ag­ing more peo­ple to run, and also in­spires our young­sters to be­lieve that they can com­pete with the best.”

Among the par­tic­i­pants are South African 10km cross-coun­try women’s new cham­pion Glen­rose Xaba, and moun­tain biker Ari­ane Lüthi, a two-time Swiss marathon cham­pion.

Xaba beat then Ath­let­ics SA de­fend­ing cham­pion Kesa Molot­sane, who earned a sil­ver medal last Sun­day at North-West Univer­sity’s Pukke Sports Fields in Potchef­stroom.

The race will be­gin at FNB Bank City at 8am, with the route go­ing past iconic land­marks in­clud­ing the Nel­son Man­dela Bridge, Con­sti­tu­tion Hill, Wits Univer­sity, the Neigh­bour­goods Mar­ket and El­lis Park Sta­dium. It ends at Mary Fitzger­ald Square in New­town.

The to­tal prize of R212 000 will be split among the top fin­ish­ers in all cat­e­gories. The male and fe­male win­ners of the open cat­e­gory will take home a de­served to­tal of R25 000 each. The rest of the purse has been al­lo­cated to the rest of the open cat­e­gory’s top 10, as well as the top three male and fe­male fin­ish­ers in the five age-group cat­e­gories.

When en­ter­ing on­line, run­ners were able to choose to sup­port the event’s char­i­ties – the Jo­han­nes­burg Her­itage Foun­da­tion, the Jo­han­nes­burg So­ci­ety for the Preven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals and the Reach For A Dream Foun­da­tion.

In its in­au­gu­ral year, the race at­tracted 11 000 run­ners.

The fi­nal FNB race will be staged in Dur­ban on Oc­to­ber 8.

Rac­ing at home helps grow the sport. It en­cour­ages more peo­ple to run and in­spires young­sters to be­lieve that they can com­pete with the best

STEPHEN MOKOKA

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