JOHANNESBURG - Claude Moshiywa would retire a contented man were he to add the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon winners’ medal to the Comrades Marathon one he proudly displays at his home in Sebokeng.
“The only winner’s medal missing is Two Oceans. I feel sad that I've never won it. It will be good to win it now,” Moshiywa said this week as he finalised his preparations for Saturday’s race.
The Nedbank Running Club elite is one of no less than four athletes from his club who are among the favourites to ensure the title stays with them. Defending champion Lungile Gongqa will face stiff competition from two-time winner Mike Fokoroni as well as former Comrades Marathon champion Ludwick Mamabolo to retain his title.
Moshiywa will also be there looking to depose the man he has trained with.
“To be honest I had never taken the race so serious like I did this year. I used to use it as a training run for Comrades. But now I am ready to compete and even do better than I did before there,” said the 43-year-old.
Training with Gongqa has given him great confidence.
“Working with Lungile made me believe I can also make it in the race. It was a lifetime opportunity to work with the race champion. I feel physically and mentally strong now. We worked together until last week, now I am ready for the race. But it was all about helping each other before the big day,” said the 2013 Comrades champion.
At his age though, Moshiywa will have to muster all the experience he garnered from his eight Two Oceans races to come out triumphant.
“I am ready to compete with the youngsters. Lungile and I trained with them with. There were some young athletes who focus on marathons that we ran with. So I will be out there to prove I can still compete with the boys.”
It will take some doing though for Moshiywa to conquer the field given his record at the event fondly referred to as ‘the world’s most beautiful marathon’.
With his best run at Two Oceans having come way back in 2007, many will argue that Moshiywa’s best is way behind him. Back then he ran an impressive 3:12:03 to finish in fourth place.
Since then he has not even made it into the overall top ten, although he was third in the veterans’ category in both 2015 and 2016. And he’s had just a single sub 3:20 finish since, in the glorious 2013 when he won Comrades.
Will, however, is a pretty powerful tool in long distance running and Moshiywa has it in abundance.