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Runner finishes THREE LAPS behind the winner at Commonwealth Games – but still records personal best

Runner finishes THREE LAPS and six minutes behind Commonwealth Games winner – but beats the crowd as she sets heartwarming personal best

  • Mathakane Letsie represented Lesotho in the women’s 10,000 meters on Thursday
  • She was unable to prepare well for the Games and finished well behind her rivals
  • Her attempt to never die brought back memories of a similar performance in Sydney

Mathakane Letsie finished so far behind the winner of the women’s 10,000m final at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday morning that the men’s high jump had to be postponed – but she still delivered one of the most heartfelt performances in Birmingham.

The runner from Lesotho, Africa, crossed the line six minutes and three laps behind the victor, Scotland’s Eilish McColgan, but came out on top after a personal best.

Memories of Eric ‘The Eel’ Moussambani’s legendary dive at the Sydney Olympics—when he became a cult hero by winning over the crowd while swimming much slower than his competitors—Letsie had onlookers cheering her on when she refused to stop.

Eilish McColgan wins the 10,000m race in Birmingham.  Mathakane Letsie is just behind her on the right - but she still had three laps to go

Eilish McColgan wins the 10,000m race in Birmingham. Mathakane Letsie is just behind her on the right – but she still had three laps to go

Letsie (right) finished six minutes behind the rest of the field, forcing the men's high jump to be postponed - but the crowd stood behind her as she recorded her personal best time

Letsie (right) finished six minutes behind the rest of the field, forcing the men’s high jump to be postponed – but the crowd stood behind her as she recorded her personal best time

The 30-year-old was driven through the field in the 11th, 18th and 25th minutes of the race and was shocked when the Sydney Morning Herald asked her for an interview after she crossed the line.

“My confidence is not good,” she said.

‘I am a mother from Ghana. I’m not on the job. I am a mother from Ghana. I can’t prepare properly.’

Letsie finished in 36 minutes 50 seconds at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, having previously clocked 37:31 in a 2021 Durban race. She also finished 10th in South Africa’s Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon this year.

Her comments about not being on the track are another similarity to Moussambani’s story.

The swimmer from Equatorial Guinea had never seen an Olympic-sized pool before competing in Sydney, where he competed in the 100m freestyle.

The 30-year-old revealed she hadn't been able to train properly when interviewed after the race - but she showed just as much heart as all her competitors

The 30-year-old revealed she hadn’t been able to train properly when interviewed after the race – but she showed just as much heart as all her competitors

It took him two minutes to complete his heat swim – almost double what it takes to cover the distance.

Forced to train for the Games in a lake and hotel pool, he was thrown into a frenzy when the only other two competitors in his heat were disqualified.

At one point, Moussambani may have seemed unable to finish the race, but thanks to the support of the public, he made it to the finish line in one of the Olympiad’s most memorable endeavors.

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