Mokoka eyeing up more top marathon races

Stephen Mokoka is already eyeing up another Great Run appearance after his brilliant second place at the Bupa Great South Run in Portsmouth on Sunday.

Mokoka despite winning the Bupa Great North 10km in July came to the 20th staging of the south coast event relatively unknown even after finishing eighth in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships a fortnight earlier.

But the 23-year-old was quietly confident of his ability and it took a superhuman display from Britain's Mo Farah to snatch the race when winning by just a second in a very fast time of 46 minutes 25 seconds.

Mokoka despite missing what would have been the biggest victory of his career was delighted after setting the fastest time ever achieved by a South African athlete over the 10 miles distance.

The sports management student from Pretoria admitted he was amazed at the high profile stature of the Bupa Great South Run and his reception from everyone he met during his stay in Pompey.

Mokoka is now considering running at the Bupa Great Winter Run in the New Year considering cross country a key factor in his development as a world class distance runner.

"I would like to race in Edinburgh if I get an invite," Mokoka said, although admitting he isn't a cold weather fan but knows cross country is inevitably staged in adverse conditions.

"I'd like to thank the organisers for inviting me to both the Great North 10km and now here, it's very rare to run overseas and I was very surprised to get such experience," he added.

"I am normally used to running locally except when at an IAAF Championships event. Getting the opportunity to compete in Britain has been most welcome. The people in Sunderland - they were great. I felt like I was home, it was really nice experience. Even here it's the same thing so I'm really enjoying myself."

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