Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 166 March 2024 | Page 16


R Rulers of the oad

What a year 2023 was , with so many standout performances on the road , from multiple sub-28s for 10km on home soil , to several new SA Records as well as course records in the Two Oceans and Comrades ultramarathons ! The question is , who stood out from the rest in such a stellar line-up of performances ? Here are our winners ! – BY MANFRED SEIDLER with SEAN FALCONER
Looking back , one simply has to acknowledge that 2023 was a phenomenal year in South African road running , across the distance spectrum , and on both the men ’ s and women ’ s fronts , with SA Records and course records being broken , ‘ new kids on the block ’ coming through , and the country earning a World Championship medal for the first time in many years .
Shorter Distances – 5km to 21.1km
Maxime Chaumeton
So , when it came to sitting down to decide on a short list of nominees for these awards , we found that we could propose quite a number of athletes across the various categories , and you can read more about all the nominees in our February edition by clicking here .
Much as we would love to give all the nominees an

Men ’ s Nominees

Precious Mashele
Thabang Mosiako

And the winner is … THABANG MOSIAKO

This was a really tough call to make as all four of the listed nominees had incredible seasons . Precious Mashele ran the SA Record in the 10km , Kabelo Mulaudzi won four successive high-profile 10km races ( three on the road and the SA Cross Country title ), also dipping under 28 minutes , and Maxime Chaumeton twice lowered the SA Record for 5km , but we felt that Thabang Mosiako should get the nod .
It ’ s fair to say that Thabang came of age in 2023 . He posted three sub-28-minute performances over 10km – the most by any South African ever , never mind in one calendar year – and set a massive PB in front of his home crowd at the NMB Half Marathon in Gqeberha as he won the second national title of his career . He then finished sixth at the World Half Marathon Championships with another PB .
His first sub-28 came in the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA , where he clocked 27:53 and shattered his previous best of 28:22 , run late in 2022 . That was followed by his incredible 21.1km win in Gqeberha in 1:00:29 , and then came another sub-28 as he finished award , we did set ourselves the task of choosing our athletes of the year , so without further ado , these are the athletes that we believe deserve the top accolades in the road running division of the Modern Athlete of the Year honours for 2023 . ( Note that just to make things fair , we have arranged nominees ’ names alphabetically within each category .)
Kabelo Mulaudzi
second in a three-man sprint finish to clock 27:59 at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY race in Durban .
At the World Half Marathon Championships in Riga , Latvia , Thabang ’ s 59:52 for sixth place led the SA men to the team bronze medal , and gave him the second-best time ever by a South African , behind the SA Record 59:36 of Stephen Mokoka . It also makes just the second South African to go under 0 minutes on a record-legal course . The cherry on top for Thabang was his third sub-28 as he finished sixth in the Urban Trail de Lille 10km in France in November , with his 27:45 setting a massive PB by eight seconds and moving him to third on the SA all-time list , behind Mashele ( 27:35 ) and Mokoka ( 27:38 ).
Looking ahead , 2024 will be an interesting year for Thabang as he has hinted about giving the marathon a go , and based on his 2023 record , his marathon opener could be quite the statement !
Images : Guntis Berzins / World Athletics , Adam Nurkiewicz / World Athletics , Tobias Ginsberg , Anthony Grote , Rogan Ward , Action Photo SA & courtesy Comrades Marathon , Two Oceans Marathon
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