Stephen Mokoka ran the fastest time ever in South Africa, by a South African athlete, at the SA Half Marathon Championships in Constantia, Cape Town yesterday. This is applicable to races on unaided courses.
A mere two weeks after competing in the marathon at the London Olympics, Mokoka was back, successfully defending his title at the Half Marathon Championships. He crossed the line in 60:57, ahead of Lucky Mohale and Gladwin Mzazi. Their times were 61:08 and 61:38 respectively.
Mokoka’s performance was also one of only two sub-61 minute races in South African history on a standard route. The other athlete to achieve this was Lawrence Peu on 18 May 1991 in East London. He finished the race in 60:58.
“My aim (yesterday) was to finish in the top five so that I can be up for selection for the World Half Marathon Championships later this year. I am very happy with my performance, especially with the good time,” said Mokoka.
Mokoka set a fast pace from early on in the race “so that only the strong athletes could follow”.
“Lucky Mohale, Gladwin Mzazi and Desmond Mokgobu did most of the work. I ran most of the race in the group with the three guys,” said the Half Marathon champion. “It was a close race, so I only realised that I was going to win about five meters before the finish line.”
Currently, Mokoka has no other races lined up for the rest of the season, but is hoping to be selected for the World Championships on 6 October in Bulgaria.