Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
APRIL SETS SIGHTS ON RIO OLYMPICS
After finishing outside the top 10 in his third 42km race in succession, Lusapho April remains confident about his progress in the build-up to the Rio Olympics.
April stuck with the lead group for nearly 35km at the Boston Marathon on Monday, following an erratic early pace, but eventually slipped off the back of the 10-man pack.
He faded in the closing stages to take 13th place in 2:16:25, after finishing 15th and 12th respectively at the World Marathon Majors races in Boston and New York last year.
“I was comfortable with the pace and I always feel at home in the leading group in a major race,” April said on Tuesday.
“My focus is the Olympics and to stand a chance of a medal you have got to be comfortable running up near the front.”
After being dropped, the slightly built athlete struggled against the wind in cold, wet conditions and was passed by a few elite competitors.
“The wind was probably the biggest factor in the second half of the race,” he said.
“Once I got isolated after 35 km the headwind made it difficult to finish strongly.”
April confirmed he would take a short break before competing in some “exciting” shorter distance events in South Africa and the United States.
A two-time winner of the Hannover Marathon, and a third-place finisher at the 2013 New York Marathon, the Eastern Cape athlete is the faster SA runner over 42km in the last six years, holding a 2:08:32 personal best.
He and coach Karen Zimmerman are looking to enter an international race on a faster, flatter course later this season, after focussing on slower, tactical events over the last 18 months, in an attempt to secure one of three coveted spots in the SA team for next year’s Olympic Games
“We are targeting a faster marathon in the second half of the year to get the Olympic qualifier out of the way.”