By Ellina Mhlanga
VETERAN long-distance runner Mike Fokorani believes he has done all he needs to do to prepare himself for the forthcoming Two Oceans Ultra-marathon in South Africa on April 15.
Fokorani put up a brilliant show last year when he romped to victory in 3 hours 13 minutes 33 seconds to claim the title. The 40-year-old has been training in Bindura preparing for the 56km race and will be leaving for South Africa this coming Saturday.
“I did all the preparations, all the necessary programmes and all the work for this race. One thing I am happy about is that this time I am injury free unlike last year when I was having some problems with my leg. I had a groin injury.
“This time I am alright and right now there is nothing else I want except to defend my title. The moment I defend my title, it means I would have made a name for myself.
“So I am now slowing down until the day of Two Oceans because I have done all I need to do for the race. I am just doing light jogging to remain fit. Bindura has got a good terrain for training,” said Fokorani.
Last year’s race proved to be a Zimbabwean affair with another seasoned long-distance runner Collen Makaza coming second behind Fokorani.
Makaza, who is also into coaching, is expecting to compete this year and Fokorani said it’s likely to be another interesting race and hopes they will both be in their top form when they meet in South Africa in less than two weeks.
“I really cannot say much but I understand he (Makaza) is training as well. I think I’m going to run shoulder to shoulder with him.
“The way I see it, as Zimbabweans we have done well in these ultra-marathons. There is Marko Mambo, Moses Njodzi, myself and even Stephen Muzhingi, who won the Comrades. So I believe we are really good in these races. The only challenge I think we have is lack of sponsorship,” said Fokorani. Fokorani, who represented Zimbabwe at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, is confident there is still more he can achieve as he has matured with age.
“These ultra-marathon races, it’s more to do with age. As you grow older you become stronger, so I believe I am likely to perform even better at 40, maybe until 43. I think chances of winning are there,” added Fokorani.
The Bindura-based athlete is also eyeing the Comrades Ultra-marathon in June where he came fourth last year but for now he has to save his energy for the Two Oceans.