Chabata in search of another Sani Stagger podium

As the 2016 Sani Stagger fast approaches the 42km slog to the top of Sani Pass and back looms large as 2015 third place finisher Lovemore Chabata once again aims to be in the top three come the finish on Saturday, 26 November.

Having ground his way to third place last year Chabata is not giving away too much in terms of expectations and would rather go about his preparation quietly in the hope that his race comes together well on the day.

“I don’t think I can come out and say that I am going to win the race,” the Maxed Elite star said.

“It is not an easy race and with such strong competition against me I am hoping that I can get back into the top three this year. I want to have a better race then I did last year and if I can manage that then I think I will be in the top three.”

With a couple of Sani Stagger finisher’s medals to his name, the Zimbabwean star understands the rigours of this unique challenge and he feels that if he can win the battle in his head then he has done most of the job long before he has crossed the finish line.

“I have to be mentally strong during the race. There are some tough sections, especially the final three kilometres up to the summit and the last two kilometres into the finish where your body wants to give in.

“I have done the race a number of times so I understand how I need to approach it and run it so my experience should get me through,” Chabata added confidently.

The Sani Stagger, besides for being a difficult 42km race, comes with some unique challenges that give it it’s unique appeal for runners from far and wide, a challenge that is not lost on the elite runners, especially Chabata.

“Even if I don’t do well in the race, the motivation for me is the challenge that the race poses.

“Just to cross the line at the end of such a difficult race is an achievement enough for me and for a lot of the other runners.

“The terrain is one of the most difficult aspects for me as when you are running down the hill your mind is telling you to go faster but you cannot, the road won’t let you.

The 36 year-old is under no illusions that he is going to be in for a difficult race with some of the race’s past winners on the start line so getting a good result is going to be tough.

Altitude is another challenge that the race poses with runners reaching heights of around 3000m about sea level and with Chabata outside a big block of training the conditions are going to prove to be another hurdle to negotiate.

“I haven’t been training too hard recently so I don’t really have a gauge as to how strong I am so I am a bit worried about the altitude.

“We do train at sea level so it is going to provide another tough challenge but that is part of the reason we enter the race so I am looking forward to it!

“I am going to try and push myself as much as I can and hopefully it will be enough to get back on the podium this year!” a hopefully Chabata commented.

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