DURBAN – Prodigal Khumalo is one of the hot favourites, alongside Bongmusa Mthembu, Gift Kelehe and David Gatebe, to claim this year’s Comrades Marathon but the Zimbabwe-born athlete doesn’t want such talk to distract him as the famous ultra-marathon edges ever closer.
Khumalo is heading to the Comrades in fine fettle having recently enjoyed success in the Zululand Marathon and Ultra-trail in Cape Town.
Last year, Khumalo attained a gold medal as he finished eighth in the gruelling KZN ultra marathon.
“You can’t stop people from saying whatever they want to say about you,” said a pragmatic Khumalo about that potential favourites tag being a distraction.
“The fact that they are saying I’m the favourite, it shows that they believe in my ability. I will run my own race. I don’t want to talk about winning. I have no pressure to win. I will be happy to get gold but If I win, then I will be happy but I have no pressure to win,” Khumalo said as he tried to divert the pressure away from him.
Khumalo (36) has been running Comrades Marathon since 2008. He has completed eight marathons and has only twice failed to finish - in 2009 and 2011.
“I’m ready for the Comrades, although I sustained an Achilles injury four weeks ago. Right now, I’m 80 percent ready but I’m adamant that I will be 100 percent ready come race day. You can’t do new things now. It is about all what you have been doing,” Khumalo explained.
This year’s run, scheduled for June 10, will start in Pietermaritzburg and finish at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
The current record for the down run stands at 5:18:19, set by David Gatebe in 2016.