Sibusiso Nzima calls for pacesetters to help with Olympic qualification

Sibusiso Nzima calls for pacesetters to help with Olympic qualification

Renowned long-distance runner Sibusiso Nzima has passionately appealed to Athletics South Africa (ASA) to consider incorporating pacesetters in local events.

His plea stems from the desire to assist fellow runners in achieving faster times, particularly in their pursuit of qualifying for the 42,2 km marathon at the Olympic Games in Paris scheduled for August. 

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With the Olympic qualifying time set for 2 hours, eight minutes, and 10 seconds, Nzima firmly believes pacesetters could significantly enhance his and other athletes’ chances of meeting this demanding standard. 

"We just wish that they can put pacemakers for the 2024 edition since it's the Olympic year, because to run qualifying time all the way by yourself is not easy, it is challenging," said Nzima. 

"You can't run a marathon  304, 303, on your own for 42 km, you just need someone that will give that pace for 30 km at least."

An unfortunate tendon injury prevented Nzima from pursuing a qualifying time in Valencia last December but, despite this setback, he remains optimistic as he now sets his sights on the Durban international marathon scheduled for March.

"The main focus this year is the Durban International, because the plan was the Valencia Marathon last year but had picked up an injury before the Valencia marathon," he added.

"I have started recently with my preparations and still on the plan to the Durban International, because 2024 is the Olympic year, and I think it's my last Olympics to attend."

Following discussions with his coach Lindsey Perry, who specialises in both marathon and ultra-marathon disciplines, Nzima expresses his desire to transition to ultra-marathon after the upcoming Olympic Games conclude in September.  

''Then I will start my career on a longer journey, like the ultra-marathon. So we will see how the preparations go, because my coach knows well about the ultras - how to transform from the marathons to ultras.

"I delayed my process to start ultra-marathon because I wanted to run great races, as much as I did in short races,'' he concluded.