The 35-year-old rose to prominence last year when he astonished the masses by capturing the Comrades Marathon crown. He defeated a stiff competition from three time winner, Bongmusa Mthembu (not pictured) to reign supreme in last year’s up run. Photo: African News Agency/ANA
The 35-year-old rose to prominence last year when he astonished the masses by capturing the Comrades Marathon crown. He defeated a stiff competition from three time winner, Bongmusa Mthembu (not pictured) to reign supreme in last year’s up run. Photo: African News Agency/ANA

Comrades marathon champion Mothibi, is a man on the mission

By Minenhle Mkhize Time of article published May 10, 2020

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Comrades marathon champion, Edward Mothibi, is a man on the mission.

The 35-year-old rose to prominence last year when he astonished the masses by capturing the Comrades Marathon crown. He defeated a stiff competition from three time winner, Bongmusa Mthembu to reign supreme in last year’s up run.

Two years was all it took Mothibi to announce his name on the big stage. He made his debut in the ultra race between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in 2018 and a year later, the Mahikeng born athlete was the winner.

In an interview with Independent Media, the diminutive runner said he has set his sights on breaking the record in the Comrades Marathon in future.

“I’ve ran two Comrades Marathons in my career. When I made my debut, I finished fourth and last year I won the race. I was looking forward to defending my title this year. I know, it wasn’t going to be easy as my competitors were going to give me a run for my money and I was also going to do the same. My goal hasn’t changed. I still want to defend my title,” Mothibi stated.

Mothibi has built up a legion of fans, admirers and supporters after his instant success in one of the toughest ultra races in the world.

Currently, David Gatebe holds the record for the down run. He set the record in 2016 (5h18m30s) but Mothibi has his eye on emulating the Kroonstand runner.

“In life nothing is impossible. If something has been achieved, it can also be achieved again. For now, I can’t say that I’m ready to break the Comrades record or I’ll be chasing the record. I’m still new and trying to get experience in this race. But in future, yes, it is something that I would love to do (breaking the record). Sometimes, you don’t plan for such things. Records just happen,” he added.

Mothibi has been through trials and tribulations but believes he overcame challenges before him to reach the greater heights.

“I’ve surprised myself with the progress that I’ve made since I started running Comrades. But I didn’t just wake up and won the Comrades. This is a monster race you need a proper planning to win it. That plan can even take up to five years to master the race. But people are not the same. I started running marathons in 2012. Before 2012, I was doing cross country and 21km distances. In 2014, I decided to try with an ultra marathon. I ran the Two Oceans and the subsequent races after 2014. You won’t believe it but I’ve never been in the top 10 (of the Two Oceans). I also ran the Soweto Marathon and Mandela Marathon. For the past three years, I was in the top 10 for Soweto Marathon and in 2017 I also made in to the top 10 for the Mandela. So, it is a process, I didn’t just wake up and won Comrades. Even though I won it but I never thought I’ll do it. I didn’t plan to win it,” Mothibi elaborated.

Evidently the Comrades bug that the race participants talk about has caught on with Mothibi. He now sees this race as the event he wants to make his own.

“I still want to win more Comrades and represent South Africa at the World Championship,” Mothibi explained.

This year’s Comrades Marathon has been postponed because of the coronavirus that has halted all the sporting activities in the country. The talk from the race organizers was that they hoped to host it at a later stage but it is all dependent on whether the relentless spread of the disease subsides.

For now, Mothibi is back on the road preparing under limited Level 4 lockdown rules.

“I work at the minning company and we work shifts there. So, I’m able to train in the morning under the level 4 of lockdown. Before that, I was training at my apartment. The fact that we are not training for any race, three hours is okay. If we were preparing for a particular race and then I was going to say, it is not enough,” Mothibi said.

@minenhlecr7


Sunday Tribune

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