Mapaseka Makhanya eyes new running milestones for her career

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South African middle and long-distance runner Mapaseka Makhanya has won many accolades in her long and illustrious career. But there are still some milestones she wants to achieve before she calls time on her long career.

She still has her sights on qualification for the Paris Olympics in 2024 and the Comrades Marathon.

Makhanya is an accomplished athlete who has represented her country in many international events. But the biggest of them all, the Olympic Games, is one of the major events that has eluded her.

She says qualifying for the global games will be her ultimate dream.

“It would fulfill my cycle of running. I have represented athletics in all stages world youth, world juniors, world seniors, Commonwealth, and All-African Games.  So the only thing missing is the Olympics but if I don’t go it won’t take my accolades away and it’s one thing I would like to do for myself”

Makhanya admits that her chances of going to the Olympics are very slim. However, she says she can still get an opportunity to qualify if she competes in the race in China early next year.

Apart from qualifying for the Olympics, she also dreams of winning the Two Oceans marathon next year.

“I think my goal of going to the Olympics has faded a bit unless I get a race in China in February and I know that I still have a fighting chance to qualify for the Olympics but other than that I am doing a two oceans marathon a 56km for the first time next year so I want to be the first Soweto female to win the marathon.”

Makhanya was named SA’s Sportswomen of the Year in 2013. She says that ranks as one of the biggest highlights in her career.

“To be named SA Sportswomen of the Year coming second in the Soweto Marathon because it’s home representing Sowetans at their backyard that was a big thing and also representing SA at the world championships and biggest stages of the competitions in the world.”

Makhanya briefly took a break from running in 2018 and returned last year. The 38-year-old is not planning to retire anytime soon.  She still harbours the ambition of winning the Comrades marathon.

“I wanted to do it for the longest time I stopped running in 2018 and I started running again in 2022 for me I realised how much running plays a huge role in my life and I think I will do it until my body says no or maybe after I win Comrades Marathon I haven’t thought about it. But eventually, I want to do the Comrades Marathon and in six years I’ll do that and come back and plough in the community, that’s my long-term goal.”

While she has had a successful long career, she also suffered personal misfortunes in the last few years.  She first lost her brother in a car accident in 2019. Then the following year, her father passed on.