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Phahlane, Van Meter conquer the gruelling Thambazimbi course

Runners use Marakele Marathon as preparation for Comrades

Neville Khoza Journalist
Othaniel Phahlane winning the Marakele Marathon in Thabazimbi on Saturday.
Othaniel Phahlane winning the Marakele Marathon in Thabazimbi on Saturday.
Image: Supplied

Othaniel Phahlane and Katy van Meter found the Marakele Marathon course tough but admitted it's good preparation for Comrades and other races.

Phahlane and Meter beat over a hundred runners to the finish line in the 42km men's and women's race to win the Marathon in Thabazimbi on Saturday.

Phahlane completed what has also been described by many runners as a tough course in 2:43,46 seconds, while Meter's time was 3:29,19 seconds.

The marathon starts and finishes at Marakele National Park, Thabazimbi, in partnership with SanParks Honorary Rangers and Thabazimbi Athletics Club.

It also gives runners an opportunity to run along the big five animals and access to explore SA's natural heritage.

It's a double-lap course and the first half of it brings a lot of climbing, which proved to be challenging for the runners who took part on Saturday.

“The course was tough, but because it was not the first time I ran this Marakela race, it was not a problem for me because I know the route,” Phahlane told the media after the race.

“This is my preparation for the Comrades Marathon. That's why I came here because last time I was here, I saw how tough the route was and I knew the course.”

Phahlane said he broke away from the group at nine kilometres when the other guys had difficulties climbing the big hills.

“That's where I realised that I needed to move. When I looked back,  there was no-one there, so I told myself, now I'm moving.

“They were struggling to climb the hills, but I'm strong on hills.”

Meter shared Phahlane's sentiments and said she was using this marathon to prepare for her marathon in Stockholm in June.

“I was really nervous because I knew it was all uphill and downhill, but it was worth it. I will do it again,” Van Meter said.

“It was the first time I did this one. This was a training run for a marathon overseas on the first of June.”

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