Charne Bosman winner of the women 2016 Comrades Marathon. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

PRETORIA – Admitting that she is not getting any younger at the age of 43, former Comrades Marathon winner Charne Bosman says she will be 'running clever' in the famous race this Sunday in Durban.

Bosman, who represents the Murray & Roberts Running Club, says all her attention will be on her stopwatch and not rivals such as Gerda Steyn, who won the Two Oceans earlier this year, or Ann Ashworth, last year's Comrades women's champion.

"The reality is that I am not getting any younger, which means I can't race the same way as I did seven years ago when I competed in my first Comrades. 

"What I might lack in pure speed I now make-up by running clever," said Bosman, who won the race in 2016.

"My Tuks coach, Lindsey Parry, and I strategised quite a lot in the build-up to Comrades. One of the things Lindsey kept emphasising that more is not better. 

"That is why I raced a lot less than in previous years. The Johnson Crane Marathon and Om die Dam were the only two occasions I purposely went out hard. 

"Something else that changed is that not once this year did I ever do more than 200 kilometres of running in a week. Lindsey's advice was that when out on the road, I should instead focus on making every kilometre count.

"As part of my preparation, I did spend several hours on a spin bike. Making sure I got enough sleep was also an essential part of my training regime. It needed to be. After 40 one's recovery is not as quick as it used to be."

Charne Bosman celebrates 4th place during the 56km 2016 Two Oceans Marathon in  Cape Town. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Charne Bosman celebrates 4th place during the 56km 2016 Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Bosman has a good idea of what she hopes to achieve on Sunday, but she prefers not to talk about it, only mentioning that if everything goes according to plan she hopes to set a new personal best time on the up-run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

"Everything will depend on how I feel after 60 kilometres. That is why it is going to be so important to keep watching the times on my stopwatch. 

"I have specific personal goals throughout the race, and the challenge is going to be to stick to it no matter what happens. 

"I 'reccied' part of the Comrades route in May to refresh my memory. It made me realise there are quite a few steep climbs on the course which no-one ever talks about."

Bosman's Comrades CV is quite impressive. In 2013 the first time she raced she finished fifth; 2015 she was second, won in 2016; third in 2017 and fifth last year.

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Having won five gold medals means that for the first she will be racing with a coveted green number. 

As to what motivates her to still keep on punishing her body year-in and year-out, Bosman said that she has one remaining goal and that is to win an up-run. 

"I genuinely want the Comrades double (winning up and down). 

"Whether I will achieve it remains to be seen but I promise I am going to give it my all. Maria Bak (Germany), who won in 2002 when she was in her mid-forties, proved that age is a mere number,” said the Tuks/HPC based athlete. 

African News Agency (ANA)