Boston honours for Uitenhage star

Lusapho April
File picture: Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images

Star Uitenhage long distance runner Lusapho April will add another feather to his marathon hat after he was named as part of the John Hancock International Elite team of athletes on Thursday.

This year’s race, which takes place on April 16, will be the 122nd edition of the famous Boston Marathon, which was first run in 1897.

April will be making his third appearance at the race.

Speaking about his selection, April, 35, said: “It’s a very nice feeling to be selected to run this marathon again. Training is going well, the body feels good, I don’t have any injuries, I am not working on anything specifically, my main aim is to get in shape and try to stay injury free.”

April has been hard at work preparing his body for the 42.2km race. He is one of 46 elite athletes from 13 countries to be hand-picked to be part of the elite team.

Billed as one of the oldest existing marathons, the race will see the world’s best long distance runners go head to head to decide the king of the Boston streets. A former national marathon champion, April has represented South Africa at the London Olympic Games in 2012 and the Rio Games in 2016, where he was the country’s top finisher.

A three-time Hannover International marathon champion, April is the current course record holder in a time of two hours eight minutes and 32 seconds. He was also a podium finisher at the New York City marathon in 2014.

April is currently out in Hogsback, preparing for the race under the guidance of coach Karen Zimmerman.

Having worked with April for more than 20 years, after first meeting him in Addo as a school pupil, she said his perseverance was something she admired very much.

“Getting to the top is not easy, and staying there is even more difficult, because everybody wants to beat you. He has done really well, and he is certainly one of the most successful athletes I have worked with,” she added.

April last ran the race in 2015, when he finished in a shade under two hours and 16 minutes, something he would like to improve on this year.

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