Totally depleted at the Two Oceans finish, having given his all to secure the biggest victory of his career, Gongqa’s quick recovery has been remarkable.
Although he had not laced a pair of running shoes since his victory, the 37-year-old was feeling fresh and ready for more.
“I feel good – I’ve recovered and feeling strong again,” Gongqa remarked on Monday.
“I was pretty exhausted at the end of the race, but I luckily I recover quickly! My legs are not stiff or sore today.”
Many were applauding Gongqa’s win as his ultra-marathon debut, but the
That experience and knowledge of the course came in handy in the latter stages of the race on Saturday as he won in 3:09.43.
“I was not confident of winning and at 42km in
“But I remembered the climb up Constantia Nek and started to feel more confident. Just after the top of the climb I passed around some water sachets to the others in the group.
“I like to help, but it was also to test them, to see how strong they were and to show I was feeling good.”
The tactic proved a masterstroke, as Gongqa accelerated away shortly after, with only
The two matched strides until another Gongqa surge 4km from the finish decided the race.
That Gongqa became the first
“I spend much of my time as a professional athlete training with my coach, Hendrick Ramaala, and his squad in
“So it’s good to be able to take a break for a week or two and spend time with my family before returning to
Gongqa’s wife Ivy, an investigating officer with the police based in Khayelitsha, is herself an impressive distance athlete, having recently posted a top-10 position in the Cape Peninsula Half-Marathon, just five months after the birth of their first son.
“We met through athletics in the
“I left for
“It’s not been easy, with me working fulltime and Lungile away, but God has been good and my mother looks after the baby during the day,” continued Ivy.
“Lungile’s second place at the Cape Town Marathon in 2015 and now his Two Oceans win has been life-changing. We are so grateful.”
Gongqa’s earnings for first overall, first South African and first WP athlete totalled R267 000, and with additional bonuses typically paid by his club, the Gongqa family can plan for a more comfortable and secure future.
“My next race will be the
While Gongqa’s primary running base is in
Gongqa travelled to
“We sent Lungile over in January as preparation for the Two Oceans,” explained Ramaala.
“Unfortunately he suffered from stomach problems with the Indian diet, and only placed 12th in 2:18:52. But perhaps that worked out well, as he was not at all depleted after the race.”Independent Media