March 1, 2024

14000 runners take to the streets of Jozi

Adnaan Mohamed

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s top middle distance athletes will be out in full force at the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN tomorrow.

SA national Record Holder, Stephen Mokoka and in-form Glenrose Xaba are going all out to add the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN title to their already impressive list of achievements.

Around 14000 participants will be celebrating the second anniversary of this the popular race that will run through the streets of Johannesburg to celebrate heritage day on Sunday 24 September 2017. The race will start at FNB Bank City Johannesburg and finish at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.

Last year Mokoka finished 7th and Xaba 5th.This year, though, the scene is vastly different.  In 2016 Mokoka had just returned from the Olympic Games and was fatigued. This year he is in shape and eager to add this title to his name.

Xaba, who is just 22 years old, has come into the shape of her life  in the last few months, winning both SA Cross Country titles (10km and 4km), on 9 September and running a personal best in the 10km at the Cape Town Marathon on Sunday 17 September. Xaba took 31 seconds off her previous best when she clocked 33:25 in the 10km in Cape Town las week.

In fact, Xaba has improved her 10km best four times in 2017. Opening with 34:49 in Cape Town in April, Xaba’s next race was timed at 34:15 in Port Elizabeth, a month later. Then on 11 June she went under 34 minutes for the first time in her career, clocking 33:56, before setting her most recent PB.

Xaba says: “”This year I am injury free.  I am training with Michael Seme’s group in Pretoria, and it is paying off.  I am looking forward to Sunday’s race. I know Sunday will be tough. Cornelia (Joubert) is always dangerous and has been in good shape this year. She won the National Half Marathon Championships in Port Elizabeth in June. Lebogang (Phalula) is the defending champion, so she will be dangerous too.”

Stephen Mokoka says he has prepared really well for this year’s race.

“I have added something new to my training routine, which I obviously cannot disclose to all my comeptitors at this stage.

“I have unfinished business here after last year. I was tired. This year it is different and I am in good shape.

“Most of the top midde distance runners will be in action so ‘m looking forward to a great contest.”

Facing Mokoka will be his friend and rival Sibusiso Nzima who finished 3rd last year.  Nzima is coming back into the shape that made him so dangerous in 2016 and saw him being selected for the World Marathon Championships this year. Nzima has raced very sparingly in 2017 and is guaranteed to be fresh come race day.

The field is loaded with Desmond Mokgobu and Mbongeni Ngxazozo also in the line-up. David Manja finished 4th at the National Cross Country Championships, just behind Thabang Mosiako.  They will all be serious threats.

While all eyes will be on Lebogang Phalula, Xaba and Cornelia Joubert, Rutendo Nyahora cannot be written off.

The 28-year-old Zimbabwean loves racing in South Africa.  She has been a thorn in the side of the local women for years and thrives on courses that offer a challenge.  This Sunday’s race should be right up her alley.

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