South African Athletics

April taking it step by step

2013-11-04 19:30
Lusapho April (AFP)

Johannesburg - Lusapho April will not be chasing fast times until he is ready to do so, says his coach Karen Zimmerman.

April finished third in the New York City Marathon on Sunday and is likely to receive a flood of invites from race organisers around the globe.

His time in the Big Apple was more than three minutes outside the 14-year-old South African record of 2:06:33 held by Gert Thys, and more than six minutes off the world record of 2:03:23 set by Kenyan Wilson Kipsang at the Berlin Marathon in September.

"In quicker races he'll need to run 2:03 or 2:04 to win, and he's close to that, but he's not there yet," Zimmerman said on Monday.

"We would rather he finishes in the top five in more challenging races than set a national record and finish 20th in a race on a fast, flat course.

"We'll get him to that level, but he's not quite there."

April, who produced the best performance by a South African in New York since Hendrick Ramaala finished third in 2007, was delighted with his podium finish, despite finishing more than a minute outside his personal best of 2:08:32.

"I'm happy to run well for South Africa," said the 31-year-old distance runner.

"When I won in Hannover (in May) it was the first time I started a marathon fully fit and without problems, so I felt I could run under 2:09 (in New York), but I'm happy with third."

Zimmerman admitted they had not yet decided on their plans for next season, but if Athletics SA's (ASA) suspension from the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) was lifted ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, April might need to race more than he would like.

"We'll sit down and decide what we're going to do next year, but we like to do two marathons a year," she said.

"It will depend on the situation between ASA and Sascoc, but I'm sure they'll sort out their issues, so if we're allowed to compete in the Commonwealth Games, we might need to do three marathons next year.

"Lusapho needs to make money as well, because it's his profession, so he might do two city marathons and the Commonwealth Games."

Read more on:    new york marathon  |  athletics

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