Charne Bosman, the Comrades Marathon defending Down Run champion, said this much on Friday as she looked ahead to Sunday's 93rd running of the Ultimate Human Race.
“My six hours 25 minutes winning time in 2016 was slow. Of course I don’t want to predict a time it will take to win this year, but anything under 6h30 will be good.”
Bosman was speaking at the pre-race conference on Friday, along with eight other women who are regarded as the top contenders for glory in this year’s run. With Caroline Wostmann, the woman she beat in dramatic fashion – she overtook a wobbly Wostmann with a little over three kilometres to go – to win two years ago out of the race, many are of the view Bosman will add her second title.
Add to that the fact last year’s winner, American Camile Herron also pulled out, and it appears the popular Nedbank Athletics Club runner is a shoe-in for the title.
But there is a lot of stiff competition for Bosman to beat, with her teammate Gerda Steyn ranked high up there. The Two Oceans Marathon champion agreed with Bosman that this year would probably see a faster time being run by the women.
“I think the winning time will be fast. I believe there is an ability to go quicker.”
With fast marathoner Tanith Maxwell making her Comrades debut on Sunday, there is every reason to expect a pretty fast race.
Not that the Boxer Athletics Club starlet, who grew up in Durban thinking “Comrades Day is more special than opening presents on Christmas day,” will be flying out of the blocks. Far from it, as a novice, Maxwell will be learning as she goes along.
“I am confident with how my training went. But it is my first race, so I can’t say I’m confident about the race. But I am hoping for a solid run.”
KPMG’s Yolande Maclean is Mrs Consistency when it comes to the Comrades, having won seven golds out of her seven starts. “I missed last year so I’m ready to see how Sunday goes,” said the woman who won the Pick ‘* Pay Marathon at the beginning of the year before finishing 8th at Two Oceans.
The likes of Stephanie Smith (first time gold winner in her sixth attempt last year), Danette Smith (8th last year in her debut), Ann Ashworth as well as Fikile Mbuthuma will be among those expected to make the top ten if not give Bosman and Steyn a run for their money.