DURBAN – Nkosinathi Duma is still a relative novice in the Comrades Marathon but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming big.
Born and bred in Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal, Duma has experienced a mixed and emotional start to his Comrades career.
He made his debut in the world’s biggest ultra-marathon back in 2013. The 31-year-old has competed in three Comrades but has only managed to finish two.
After making his debut in the famous race, Duma opted for a two-year break and returned in 2016. Things didn’t go as planned. though, as he failed to finish.
Last year he came back strong as he finished 16th overall.
Now Duma is backing himself for a top 10 place and the gold medal that this brings.
He has been training with last year’s champion Bongmusa Mthembu under coach Arthur Ford.
“Nothing has disrupted my preparations. I have no injuries and I’m looking forward to the race,” Duma enthused.
“I started my preparations in December. My training programme is different from the one I used in 2016 and 2017. For the past two years, we used to run 150km per week and this time around we are running more than 250km per week.
“It hasn’t been easy but it is worth it. I want to emulate my performance of last year. My target this year is to be in the top 10,” he added with confidence.
Duma has been in camp for four weeks with his team and they are working diligently.
“In 2016 when I didn’t finish Comrades, my training was poor,” he explained.
“When I started in 2013, it all went well but someone told me to work on power because at that time my strength was speed.
“That’s why I didn’t run Comrades in 2014 and 2015 because I was working on power.”
Duma won the 42km Summer Stanger race and finished fifth in the Maritzburg City Marathon during his build-up to next Sunday’s big one.
“Training with people like Mthembu has really helped me,” he said.
“These are people I call my idols, I’ve been looking up to them, and their knowledge and experience has really been valuable. That’s why I’m confident going in to this year’s Comrades Marathon.
“My eating programme has also played a pivotal role in my proper preparations. I’ve been very careful about the type of food I eat.”