ALL-FEMALE MARATHON TEAM
All-women’s elite Massmart team runner Makhanya eyes Soweto glory
Mapaseka Makhanya‚ star of the newly launched all-women’s elite Massmart team‚ is aiming to make the top five at the Soweto Marathon on Sunday despite losing crucial training time after her brother was badly hurt in a car accident.
Most of the eight-strong team‚ presented to the public in Johannesburg on Tuesday‚ will run the Kaapsehoop marathon near Nelspruit on Saturday.
Makhanya‚ SA’s fastest female over 42.2km this year‚ is not sure how she will perform in her maiden marathon in her home town.
"I’m not entirely ready‚" the 32-year-old admitted. "My heart is willing‚ I hope my legs will take me.
"I’m doing it to tick off my bucket list — it’s one of the races I’ve always wanted to do as a Sowetan," she said.
She had not done very much speed work after losing five weeks of training recently.
"My little brother was in a very bad car accident so I was every day in the hospital. Even now I’m taking care of him at home, so my training hasn’t been up to standard."
Makhanya is one of eight members of the new elite team who are looking to lift the standard of women’s road-running.
"There are all-men’s teams‚ so why not an all-ladies team?" asked the new team’s captain, Ann Ashworth.
Cracking a sub-three-hour marathon was the prerequisite for making the team‚ she added.
"We’re hoping to improve female performances over the marathon distances and then ultramarathon.
"We want to make sure our ladies are all competing at a sub-2hr 40min level and are then able to compete sub-2:30 eventually. The plan is to coach‚ develop and improve overall performance of the team."