Melikhaya Frans set to light up 1 City

Bay marathon ace looking to make his mark in big race

At the media briefing for the event on Thursday were, from left, George Ntshilisza, Desmond Zibi, mayor Mongameli Bobani, Melikhaya Frans, Luthando Nxanisa and Khayalethu Makalima.
At the media briefing for the event on Thursday were, from left, George Ntshilisza, Desmond Zibi, mayor Mongameli Bobani, Melikhaya Frans, Luthando Nxanisa and Khayalethu Makalima.
Image: Vuyokazi Nkanjeni

Ace Port Elizabeth long-distance runner Melikhaya Frans will be hoping to make an explosive debut at the 1 City Relay and Marathon event when he tackles the 42,2km race on Sunday.

Starting and finishing at City Hall, both races are presented by Eastern Province Athletics in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.

Frans, 29, represented South Africa at the World Half-Marathon Championships in Spain in 2018 and last week he came second in the Gun Run in Cape Town.

If you want to win, you need to run your own race and not worry about who else is in the starting lineup.
Melikhaya Frans

“The preparations have gone well – my body is in shape and I am healthy,” Frans said.

“I came back with a lot of confidence from Spain, where I was up against the best runners in the world.

“The one thing I learnt is that I should run as an individual and not depend on anybody.

“If you want to win, you need to run your own race and not worry about who else is in the starting lineup.

“Last year Zolani Mabhongo won the marathon, but he will not be taking part this year due to injury. That does give me a better chance of winning.

“Mbongeni Nxazozo from Gauteng is running and was third behind me in the Youth Run earlier this year.

“There are other athletes from Lesotho as well, but I am not scared of them.

“This will be my first marathon at home and I will really be happy if I can win.

“My aim is to break my best time of two hours and 15 minutes, which I recorded in the Cape Town Marathon last year, where I came 10th.

“I am working at getting a qualification for the Olympics, but we need to work hard to be among the top five runners in SA.

“Winning this race might improve my chance of reaching my dream.”

In order for Frans to qualify for the Olympics he needs to be consistently in SA’s top-five list. He is No 5 on the 10km list.

Event organiser Michael Mbambani confirmed athletes from Kenya, Lesotho and Zimbabwe would be competing.

“Last year the female winner of the marathon was Samukeliso Moyo, who won the Two Oceans four times.

“An interesting fact is that this race is a qualifier for the Two Oceans and Comrades Marathons.”

The race is part of the municipality’s Legacy Project which hosts eight events annually, including a number of events around the Bay.

The aim of this development project is to uplift the city’s sport administrators, clubs and athletes.

“With this kind of support we are enjoying, we can’t go wrong,” Mbambani said.

“That is all we need because at the end of the day people will actually leave something behind.

“It is a very good vehicle for development economically and for the sport itself.”

He said the field had been granted an IAAF standard, which means any time achieved on Sunday can help runners qualify for overseas events.

Mayor Mongameli Bobani said: “We are excited to once again partner with EPA.

“We are fully in support of this programme and have invested R1.1m into the project.

“We encourage everyone to participate in these initiatives.”

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