Cape Town – Ten months after he won the Comrades Marathon, Ludwick Mamabolo is pleased to have the opportunity to race in South Africa's other classic ultra-marathon, the Two Oceans, in Cape Town on Saturday.
Mamabolo tested positive for methylhexaneamine after securing victory in the 89km Comrades 'down' run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in June 2012, becoming the first South African to win the gruelling event in seven years.
And while the disciplinary hearing into his doping case continues next month, Mamabolo's provisional suspension was lifted in February – an unprecedented move in South African athletics – allowing him to compete until the findings of the hearings are completed.
“It's a privilege to be able to compete here. I want to thank the (disciplinary) board for this,” Mamabolo said ahead of the Two Oceans 56km race.
“It's not about showing people or proving anyone wrong. It's about doing what I do best and what I love doing.”
After his suspension was lifted, Mamabolo won the Werda Toyota Mountain half-marathon in Makhado, Limpopo, and went on to finish 10th in the Pick n Pay half-marathon in Johannesburg.
While he struggled to maintain his training schedule during his isolation from competitive racing, Mamabolo believed he could add the Two Oceans title to his Comrades crown.
“January was probably the lowest point. It was hard to continue training yet not knowing when I would be allowed to run again,” he said.
“But I've trained hard. I believe I'm fit enough, and although I haven't been able to race (regularly), I can win,” he said.
“It's going to take a 3:09 and better to win. Mike Fokoroni is a tough fighter who will be up there, as will the Lesotho runners. It's going to be a hard race.” – Sapa