Mudziganyama fit for tilt at rare Two Oceans double

ZIMBABWEAN born Givemore Mudzinganyama | PHANDO JIKELO/Independent Newspapers

ZIMBABWEAN born Givemore Mudzinganyama | PHANDO JIKELO/Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 13, 2024


NOT since Zimbabwean Marco Mambo won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005 has a men’s runner defended his Two Oceans Marathon title, such is the stiff competition in the 56km Mother City ultra.

And even though a runner from north of the Limpopo will toe the line in today’s Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon as the title holder, there has not been any talk of him emulating his compatriot. Perhaps with good reason, for Givemore Mudziganyama is not the kind of athlete to make the headlines. The somewhat reticent Entsika Athletics Club star likes to go about his business quietly, letting his feet and legs do the talking.

He had been so overlooked for last year’s race that his name was not even on the organisers’ top 10 contenders list – the fact that he had one of the fastest marathon times going into the race notwithstanding – but he showed by beating the favourites that actions speak louder than words.

Mudziganyama has been observing the discussions and media reports prior to this weekend’s race with keen interest and is somewhat astonished that he again does not really feature much.

He is not bothered. He knows, of course, that an ultra-marathon is anybody’s race.

“In an ultra there’s space for everyone to show their abilities. It’s a long distance so everyone’s got a chance,” he said.

“If you are someone who can go hard from start to finish, you can do it. If you are someone who likes climbing hills, then you have a chance. If you are the guy who enjoys doing some surges during the race, you can do that. It does not favour any particular runner.”

How does he fancy his chances of holding on to the title, though?

“For me, winning Two Oceans was a benchmark, it was a highlight, and yes, it can be done again. But there are many other possibilities besides it which are now achievable. Two Oceans is a very challenging race, but I now know I have an edge over the competition.”

He has prepared very well, he says.

“The training I have done is better than what I did last year, so it means I can improve on the time I ran (3hrs 09mins) by maybe a minute. I don’t know how much I can improve because Cape Town weather is unpredictable. If the weather could be the same, maybe I could make a slight improvement. The odds are with me. I have won it before, therefore there is a high chance of doing it again.”

And precedence by his compatriot Mambo is there as proof that a Two Oceans double is doable. Before Mambo, there was the late Zithulele Sinqe and record holder Thompson Magawana who won back-to-back titles, and Don Hartley, Derek Preiss and Brian Chamberlain successfully defended their titles in the early years of the race.

Can Mudziganyama add his name to an illustrious list that also includes lone hat-trick winner in the late Siphiwe Gqwele?

He might not be an in-your-face athlete who enjoys a lot of media attention, but there is no denying that the Tembisa, Ekurhuleni-based athlete can give more than he can take from his opponents. He showed it last year and you bet against him doing it again this year at your own peril.