JOHANNESBURG - Three-time Comrades Marathon champion Bongmusa Mthembu, will spearhead the national team at the 50km World Championships in Romania on September 1.
Mthembu, who won the 56km Two Oceans ultra-marathon in Cape Town in April and finished second at the 87km Comrades race in Pietermaritzburg last month, has been included in a 12-member SA team announced by Athletics South Africa.
He will be joined in the six-member men's squad by David Gatebe - another former Comrades and Two Oceans winner - as well as Edward Mothibe, Lungile Gongqa, Charles Tjiane and Joseph Manyedi.
The women's team, also featuring six athletes, includes former marathon star Jenna Challenor and consistent ultra-marathon specialist Yolande Maclean, along with Salome Cooper, Ntombesintu Mfunzi, Kathryn van Meter and Deanne Horn.
While the SA ultra-distance team have reached the podium at the last two editions of the 100km World Championships, they will be aiming for their first medal at the 50km World Championships since Sandile Ngunuza earned silver in the men's race in Galway, Ireland in 2010.
“The team that has been released carries the hopes of a podium position for the country,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa. “They will find motivation on the successes of the 100km teams before them.
“We are confident that the selectors have once again selected the best athletes for the team. The road running commission has laid down a preparation programme.”