Bongmusa Mthembu has done it again!
The South African athlete paced his race to perfection to win the Comrades Marathon ‘down run’ from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on Sunday and successfully defend his 2017 title.
The victory is also Mthembu’s third, as he won his first in 2014.
Mthembu gave himself the ideal birthday present – he turns 35 in just over two weeks’ time – as he crossed the finish line at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in an unofficial time of five hours, 26 minutes and 39 seconds (5:26.39).
After initially trailing the likes of South African David Gatebe and Zimbabwean Marko Mambo, Mthembu made his move with less than 19km to go as he broke away from Gatebe and Edward Mothibi.
The latter athletes couldn’t keep up with the kick from Mthembu – who raced in the colours of the Arthur Ford Athletic Club – who cruised away for the rest of the path to the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.
In fact, Gatebe and Mothibi faded further, as they were passed by a number of other athletes over the final stretch.
Joseph Mphuthi of the Sibanye Gold Kloof Athletic Club finished second in 5:35.14, with Steven Way of the Nedbank Running Club International third in 5:35.31.
Mothibi ended fourth in 5:36.36, and Mambo fifth in 5:37.53.