Bongmusa Mthembu, the three-time Comrades Marathon champion, will run the Josiah Gumede Marathon in Bergville on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - Bongmusa Mthembu, the three-time Comrades Marathon champion, will run the Josiah Gumede Marathon in Bergville on Saturday.

This was confirmed by the race organiser and Comrades legend Barry Holland who said Mthembu is also an ambassador for the race.

“Bongmusa is our race ambassador and he is one of the runners participating in the race which, as you should know, is about the third President of the African National Congress (ANC). He was born here (in Bergville). The race will be going past his house here. The route will be showcasing the precious areas of Bergville. The runners will be running next to Ukhahlamba mountains. The area is very attractive to visitors. We will also create jobs for the locals where in some areas poverty is rife,” Holland explained.

The race is one of the easy qualifiers for Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon and it not as hard as some races such as the recently run Soweto Marathon.

“If a runner has been training for the last three months without running the marathon then the Josiah Gumede Marathon is for that athlete. It is one of the easier qualifying races,” Mthembu explained. “It is much better than the Soweto Marathon which is tough. Compared to the Soweto Marathon which has a lot of corners that can be very tiring for many runners. Josiah Gumede has long roads. It starts on the one area and finishes on the other area like the Comrades. It is high altitude race which helps runners preparing for these two big races next year.”

Mthembu warned runners about the danger of running too many marathons in a short space of time.

“Over-racing is not good for your body as it needs to rest. I have been running for 18 years but I do not over-race. I do only two competitive races for the whole year with Comrades being my main race. If you chase cheques and do too many races you become vulnerable to injuries such as groin, muscle and others.

"We should enjoy running not to do it for the love of money that cut our career short. I opt for swimming, cycling and canoeing if my body is tired. I think the other runners should do the same as it helps. It takes three months to prepare for a marathon and seven months for Comrades. They must not rush into competing in marathons.”

Mbongiseni Buthelezi