Inspired by the long and lonely hours on the road, Nelson Mandela University distance runner Mariano Eesou is targeting a podium in the half marathon at the World Student Games next week.
The 25-year-old Bestmed Madibaz star is determined to finish the race in Taipei, Taiwan, strongly after collapsing at the finish in South Korea two years ago.
“Last time I got very dehydrated during the race and I still can’t remember the last kilometre,” said the second-year sports management student, who hails from Uitenhage but currently lives on-campus in Port Elizabeth.
“I collapsed as I went over the line and when I opened my eyes I was in the hospital on a drip.
“It shows how hard I worked,” he laughed. “I had just about enough left in me to get to the finish.”
Despite fading towards the end, Eesou finished 18th and the team third and he said the experience was something he still couldn’t adequately put into words.
“It was great and really overwhelming.”
Having taken some valuable lessons from his first experience, he said he felt confident ahead of this year’s championships as he’d had a solid block of training in the build-up.
“I’ve been competing a lot with some of the top athletes so