I spent a significant part of last Saturday with the Maxed Elite athlete with the ‘saddest’ story of the 2019 Comrades Marathon. Granted time does heal. But I did not expect Mhlakwana to have moved on from his Scottsville Racecourse ordeal as quickly as he has. As it is, it appears he got over it all the moment he crossed the finish line.
But how could he when he finished in the Comrades Marathon’s worst position - 11th? It is one thing to run in 11th having generally been in that position or perhaps after working yourself up to come in just outside the gold medal positions.
Mhlakwana though looked to have a prize sealed, the 26-year-old making his way into Scottsville in ninth place only for his legs to give in with the finish in sight. While Gerda Steyn’s record-breaking win and Edward Mothibi’s victory at first attempt in the Up Run were the big stories of the June 9 event, those who watched the race will tell you their most enduring memory was of Mhlakwana’s finish.
The triumph of the Human spirit. Mhlakwana epitomised that when he forced his way across the finish line after his legs gave in and he had to keep himself up by balancing on the perimeter advertising board.