Here we feature club members and present their profiles
Many more to follow

Lucas Tseka Tiro Khiba Johan Botha Sizwe Shabalala Jabulani Mkhonza    

 Sizwe Shabalala and Jabulani Mkhonza

The CSIR Running Club supports Sizwe Shabalala and Jabulani Mkhonza. This article will help you know them better.

Sizwe has worked for a family in Faerie Glen for the past 15 years. Three years ago in his early forties he decided to go for a run at the end of the day. His employers encouraged him and started taking him to the Botannical Gardens Park Run where despite him being in his mid-forties, he won the race more often than not.

Having participated in 50 of these park runs, his employer entered him in the 2017 CSIR half-marathon – he finished in 15th place in 1h25!  There were 1388 starters. He was exhausted having not yet learned how to pace himself. Not bad for a first event further than 5km!

Early in 2018, his employer registered him as member of the CSIR club – paying his subscription. Being a fairly reserved man, he ran 8km to get to the time trial, then ran the 8km time trial itself and then ran home a further 8km. I noticed him shyly standing to one side at a time trial and chatted for a while. Discovering that he lived in the same suburb as I do, I offered him a lift home and started giving him lifts to and from the Saturday morning races where he continued to perform excellently.

It was at one of his first longer distance races – the 32km at Bronkhorstspruit – that he encountered an injury, something that I suspect ALL new runners have go through. He was still running hell-for-leather all the way and ended up straining some big muscle. This kept him out of action for a few months. Once back in action, he continued to improve, running his first marathon (Bela Bela) in 3h15 and later that year completing the Loskop 50 km in 3h45!

Of course, the 2018 prize-giving saw him walking away with a host of trophies .

In June 2019, Sizwe phoned me to ask if a friend could come with us to the time trial – I said we could talk about it, but there was the friend already waiting with Sizwe for the next lift. And so I met Jabulani.

It turns out that Jabulani is also employed by a family and enjoyed going for a run after work. On one of these runs he met Sizwe and they started to run together. Not only are they both Zulu, but both their families live in Ermelo!  

Jabu – at 29 years old – initially used to finish five-or-so minutes behind Sizwe, and has never taken longer than 1h40 to complete a half-marathon. The friendly rivalry continues with Jabu recently getting the better of Sizwe. Jabu’s first marathon 4 months after he started running was done in just under 3h30. In Saturday’s tough Tukkies marathon (his second), he again stayed inside the 3h30 mark.

Note that neither of these men had any previous running experience – they are obviously talented runners! As a club, we can be very proud of them.

The ideal situation is that club members be available where practical to provide transport. Sizwe and Jabu can be picked up on race day at the Engen garage next to the Pick&Pay Hypermarket.

Comrades – this would be the ultimate experience for Sizwe and Jabulani – their performances suggest that they just might be contenders for a Silver medal. 

Support in the way of running shoes which are closing in on the end of their soles would make ideal training shoes, allowing them to use their good shoes in races (Sizwe size 9 and Jabu size 10). They have each kindly been donated a pair – one by Gerrit and another pair by Willie. Last year Linda donated her used Garmin to Jabu, while Sizwe still runs using an old wristwatch of mine, where the only function that still worked was the stopwatch.  I remember JP giving a CSIR running vest to Sizwe. Whatever you might have in old belt bags, camel backs, water bottles, etc could also be of use to them. February 2020





 Johan Botha

Johan has recently hit the big 40 and is not married – he uses this opportunity to do some marketing – he says he is available!
“This [running] is all very new to me and I have had no experience in running when I started roughly two years ago.
I started going to the local parkrun at Botanical Gardens during 2017 after deciding on a healthier lifestyle and quitting smoking. At the time I never thought it would (ever) be necessary to run more than 5km and parkruns would be perfect. I was introduced to the club by friends, joined in and soon I realised I wanted to test my ability and in 2019 did my first 10km at the Wally Hayward Race.
Since then I have completed a number of 10km’s, the Vitality Run Series in 2019 as well as three half marathons. For 2020, I am setting my sights on a marathon.”
It is still too early in his running career to have done a Comrades – he says “Watch this space!
He says “With limited experience in races, the Wally was one of my favourites last year.”
He cannot even consider what the peak has been in his short experience and is confident that a good peak lies ahead.
Johan’s PBs are 1h04 for 10km and 2h24 for the half marathon. That is a good start Johan. Let us know when you achieve your first sub-60 10k.
About the future he says “I want to stay on the road for as long as I can, it is something I really enjoy. For me, it is less about breaking records and more about the accomplishment – achieving something that 5 years ago I would not have even considered attempting. There are a number of races which I would like to participate in, in future – locally and internationally.” 
Please do say hello to Johan when you next see him. February 2020. 

 Tiro Khiba

Tiro – running as a veteran – is a single man. He is the father of a son.

He joined the CSIR club  in January 2014 so has gained some good experience. He admits that he has two DNFs (Did Not Finish) at the Comrades, but this has not put him off trying for a third time in June this year.  All the Very Best with your Determination Tiro!

A race he remembers fondly is the The Tough One.

When I asked what he considers to be his racing peak, he said “It was 2016 when I qualified for comrades. Ran sub 5’s in all my marathons including the sub 6 at City to City ultra in 2015.”

His PBs are recorded on this screenshot below from his favourite running app. I suspect that an aborted Comrades features somewhere in that list of achievements.

Seeing as Tiro’s main running goal is to complete the Comrades Ultra, I am sure that he will be able to add a complete Comrades to that list!

Do say hello to Tiro when he next overtakes you on the road. January 2020.


Lucas Tseka

Lucas at age 44 is married and has a 7 year old son named Khumo, who he says asks too many questions! Lucas is considering renaming him ‘Mr-Why’ and can’t wait to run a race with him.

In response to my question about when he started running, he said “I still remember correctly, my first day to running was on the 10 May 2011. It was hard and painfull – I could barely run 2km. I have to say, I used to hate running. I am now addicted – I need help!”

He continues “You wont believe but my first race was the CSIR race – 10km in 2011. I can still remember some tips from James just before the start. I then became a member of the running club in 2012.”

Lucas has Comrades 2018 and 2019 events under his running soles. He won’t be running that race in 2020 but will be back for more.

I asked him which is his favourite race – he had two answers.

“1. ACE race. It is quite a challenging race and it is early in the year especially after the festive season. It is always well organised and the locals on the way are supportive and encouraging. Also there is always a band playing at the top to encourage us as we navigate the hills. It is a nice race.

  1. As much as it is hard and brutal, Deloite/Phobians is my favourite marathon. I guess I get fun by competing against those hills even though I always come second best. One also had the opportunity for a panoramic view of the city. And I know I always have a nice biscuit waiting for me from Mama Fatima on the 2nd lap at the CSIR running club water point. She will literally stop me and say ‘Lucas you MUST have the biscuit’.”

Generally, if he he is not running Comrades that year, Lucas peaks from Sep to Nov, but if having run a Comrades, he is slower then. Otherwise, he performs better from March to May.

His PB’s are: 42km – 3:55 at Wally, 21km – 1:38 in Mamelodi, 10km – 00:47 at CSIR.

Lucas does not have an major goals for the future – he says : “I just enjoy running. It is fun and social.

Please do say hello to Lucas when you next see him. January 2020.