Mapaseka Makhanya can’t seem to put a foot wrong, scooping the R250,000 Gauteng Marathon title in a new course record time of 2:37:06, the Transnet runner finishing comfortably ahead of Toyota Athletics Club runners, the second-placed Mamorallo Tjoka (2:38:46) and Muchiri Eunice Nyawira (2:41:48), on Sunday, 8 September, 2013.
After an assessment of the 42.2km race course, and considering the impact of her recent performances including winning the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge on Spring Day, Makhanya’s coach, former athlete Lungile Bikwuani, told her: “Your can run 2:40.”
Makhanya did better. Without the benefit of a pace-setter, and with no runners around her from the halfway mark, the promising SA long-distance runner ran a course record on her race debut, shaving six minutes off the previous record, and claimed the largest standard marathon purse in the country in style.
“I was over the moon,” said Makhanya. “This win meant to much to me. After all the hard work put in, after all the sacrifices made, when I realized I won, I was on cloud nine!”
Makhanya updated her status on twitter account recently, saying:
As the update indicates, the double SA track champion’s good form comes on the back of hard work this year, including a 1000m in Potchefstroom in 2:43, claiming the national 1500m title in 4:15, the 5000m title in 15:53, beating the SA champion to win the 800m distance in Mauritius in 2:03, securing a personal best in the 3000m in Dakar, a time of 9:08, recording another personal best when she won the SPAR 10km in Durban in 32:49 before winning the Centurion leg in a new course record of 33:36, all this before bettering the Gauteng Marathon Challenge record by 6 minutes.
SA Running legend Elana Meyer was quick to congratulate Makhanya:
— Elana Meyer (@elanameyer) September 8, 2013
It is still early days for this talented runner, but if her recent form is anything to go by, she is in for a long and fruitful career in athletics.
The 28 year-old from Braamfisher, Soweto, has been running for 15 years, but it was only in 2011 when she decided to take it seriously. “I ran well as a junior, and I even got to represent South Africa.
“I knew then that I love running but only because I could travel the world. In 2011, I decided to take athletics as a career,” she tells gsport.
Makhanya describes herself as a talkative girl who just enjoys life and takes it as it comes, but her aspirations tell a story of a greater dedication than her modesty allows her to talk easily about. “My long term goal is representing SA at the Olympics in a marathon, and breaking the South African marathon record.”
In the first SPAR race of the season in Cape Town, Makhanya came second in a time of 33:23. She followed that up with a third place finish in Port Elizabeth in a time of 34:06.
Makhanya used the momentum gained to surge to victory in the third race in Durban, totally dominating the field, finishing in 32 minutes 49 seconds, the fastest time since Colleen de Reuck’s 31 minutes 38 seconds set in 2000.
Makhanya says the Durban SPAR race win is certainly a highlight in her flourishing career. “It feels so great to be the leading lady as I had trained hard but was not expecting this in my first year of road running and this makes it even more special.
“The standard in South Africa is so high that you can’t miss training, especially on the road. Ladies are running well and good times too.
— Bruce Davidson (@bruceybld) September 8, 2013
“I have great chance (in the upcoming SPAR races) because of the work I put in and the confidence from the past races.”
The mother of one says they keys to her success are training, dedication, discipline and loving what she does. She also has good support from her personal sponsors. “I’m sponsored by New Balance and 32gi supplements, as an athlete to go on you just need running shoes and clothes and supplements to be at your best always.”
— Modern Athlete (@modern_athlete) September 8, 2013
Makhanya is a fan of 2012 SPAR Grand Prix winner Rene Kalmer, who she says has been a great athlete through the years. Makhanya’s advice to aspiring athletes is: “Treat athletics as a profession and be dedicated but mostly love what you do.”
Makhanya describes South Africa as a beautiful country: “We have a lot to offer, and sport has brought us together as a nation!”