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Coach John Hamlett says defending Comrades Marathon champion will be hard-pressed to defend his 2017 title

Speaking at the Team Entsika's launch in Dullstroom in Mpumalanga on Thursday‚ Hamlett‚ who has coached five Comrades Marathon winners since 2001‚ said Mthembu will be hard-pressed to defend his 2017 title because of his recent Two Oceans Marathon win.

“He's a tough athlete and there's nothing wrong with the man."It would be wonderful for him to win because it would make him into a legend.

"However‚ he's got a problem in reality because the guys feel exactly the way he does. They're hungry‚” Hamlett said.Team Entsika‚ which replaced the Tom-Tom Athletics team two years ago‚ has the likes of Gordon Lesetedi‚ Gift Kelehe and Siya Mqambeli to call on.

Kelehe followed in his brother Andrew's footsteps by winning the 2015 up-run in a time of 5.38.36 while his brother won the 2001 down-run in a time of 5.25.51.

Lesetedi (sixth)‚ down-run record holder David Gatebe (eighth) and Kelehe (ninth) were part of a Team Entsika trio that finished in the top 10 in last year's down-run that was won by Mthembu in a time of 5.26.34.

Mthembu won the 2017 up-run in a time of 5.35.34 in a race where Kelehe was third in a time of 5.41.48.Mthembu won last month's Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town in a time of 3.08.40.

“We've given him the bonus for the past two years but as a coach‚ I am concerned by the fact that he's run and won the Two Oceans Marathon so close to the Comrades‚" he said."It doesn't help you too much but we'll talk after 65kms.

”This year's Comrades Marathon up from Durban to Pietermaritzburg will take place on June 9.

(05/23/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and sinew and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned...

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Camille Herron is back and better than ever after suffering a quad injury

Herron transitioned to trail running in 2016 and promptly set a course record by 27 minutes at the Ultra Race of Champions 100K in 9:36:05—and did it while drinking a Rogue Ales Dead Guy Ale during the last few miles of the race, which has since become part of her racing strategy.

In June 2017, Camille Herron competed in Comrades Marathon, a race in South Africa known for its 55-miles of torturous mountainous climbs. She crossed the line first by over four minutes, and became the third American ever to win the race.

Then in November, Herron not only won her first 100-mile race at the Tunnel Hill 100, but broke the World Record for the women’s 100-mile distance by over an hour.

During the race, she averaged a pace of 7:38 per mile. For Herron, running is not only a sport, but an extension of her identity; she is voracious in her pursuit of distance, but she has fun, too.

She looks forward to her post-run bacon and beer and, the night before big races, Herron brings a speaker to host dance parties. Sometimes she’s still dancing the next morning on the start line. This year, Herron was poised to return to the 2018 Comrades race in the best shape of her life.

However, in late May of 2018, just weeks before she was set to toe the line, she tried a new quad strengthening routine she found on YouTube. Always one to push herself to the limits, Herron found herself limping in the days that followed, due to a stress reaction of the femur and she withdrew from Comrades.

Weeks later, realizing she could not run at all, she withdrew from the 2018 Western States Endurance Run as well. Herron, 36, who now splits her time between Alamosa, Colorado, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, took her first steps back running eight weeks ago and recently completed a 114.6-mile week of training.  Camille is back and will be racing soon.

(11/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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Richard Mazungula was born to run but he didn't know it until last year

Richard Mazungula is arguably one of the best athletes in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. The 41-year-old said he used to run in track races in high school, but it’s been years. “Back then, people used to tell me I had talent, but I only ran for fun, not for fame. I don’t know why I started running again. It can only be God’s grace,” he explained. His first venture back on the track was for a 5km race in Forest Hill last year and, to his great surprise, he came first. He’s been running non-stop ever since. Since September last year, Mazungula has run almost 75 races. He is now a proud member of the Nedbank Running Club.  Mazungula has astounded many racing fans by running five ultra marathons this year alone. The first was the Amobia Bay Ultra Marathon in February, followed by the 2018 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Bruintjieshoogte Marathon. Only four days after the that Marathon he ran the Zwelitsha Mdantsane Ultra Marathon. The last ultra was the 2018 Comrades Marathon. This came as a surprise to him as well as he said he never ran more than 15km races when he was younger. “Most athletes only run one ultra a year. I’ve run five this year alone and I have no pain or injuries. “It must be God’s will. “Some of the guys asked me if I had any help, but I don’t use any supplements or anything like that. We’re tested for those kind of things. I just like to run.” (07/25/2018) ⚡AMP
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Xolani Luvuno finishes the Comrades Marathon and says running has turned his life around after losing one leg

Xolani Luvuno, was five hours into the race when the rest of the field started at 5:30 a.m. He had been granted additional time because after an injury his right leg was amputated, according to News 24, an African news outlet. Race organizers granted him the additional time on the course, but said he would not be an official participant of the race because it would take longer than the 12-hour cutoff time. He says that the marathon required a lot of training.  “It helped me to turn my life around because I used to be an alcoholic, going to parties.  Instead of partying anymore, I focus on my running.” He had this to say at the finish line: “I wanted to make sure that I finish before cut-off time and my coach said to me don’t rush because the Comrades Marathon is not 42km, it’s a big race. I want to say thank you to the supporters who cheered for me on the route, as well as the director of the Comrades Marathon for giving me this chance.” But just like he had overcome a lot in his life just to make it to this race, Luvuno was there to overcome the course. He did just that when he crossed the line in 15 hours, 50 minutes.  (06/11/2018) ⚡AMP
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South African Runners take Top spots at the Comrades Ultra Marathon

South Africa completed a clean sweep at the Comrades Marathon on Sunday as Bongmusa Mthembu and Ann Ashworth ensured that the coveted titles remained in South Africa. It was a South Africa 1-2 in the two categories with Joseph Mphuthi and Gerda Steyn‚ clinching the runners-up spots. In achieving his feat‚ Mthembu completed a hat-trick of victories (after he won in 2014 and 2017) and in the process became only the second man to do it since Bruce Fordyce won the popular ultra-marathon back to back in 1988. The Arthur Ford runner waded off a strong challenge from Marko Mambo of Zimbabwe‚ who had set the pace for the better part in the second half of the 90km down run. Mthembu made his breakthrough at Cowies Hill‚ some 18km from the finish at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. At this point‚ it was left for the rest of the pack that also had a significant South African presence to jostle for the remaining top ten slots. (06/10/2018) ⚡AMP
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Last year's Comrades winner will defend his title on sunday at Comrades Marathon

Bongmusa Mthembu wants to prove he is South Africa’s current best ultra-distance runner.  He has finished among the top three on five occasions at Comrades, with four of those performances achieved on the ‘down’ run. The only South African since 1990 to secure victory more than once.  He was also a silver medallist at the 2016 100km World Championships, and he will be eager to stand up and deliver once again. Other contenders include powerful front-runner Rufus and in-form Zimbabwean athlete Hatiwande Nyamande. While Mthembu and Gatebe are considered the pre-race favorites, a number of other athletes could pull through to win this wide-open race. Title contenders include former winners Ludwick Mamabolo and Gift Kelehe, as well as Zimbabwean athlete Hatiwande Nyamande, who finished third in last year’s ‘up’ run.  On the women's side, last year’s American winner Camille Herron is not running.  (06/09/2018) ⚡AMP
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Veteran athlete Barry Holland will be running his 46th Comrades Marathon

Comrades veteran Holland aims to extend unique record, Barry Holland will bid to complete his 46th Comrades Marathon this Sunday and extend the record for most finishes in the race. “I’m very proud about the record; it has been a very long journey. I’ve been running since I was 20 years old and I’ve run every race since then,” he said from his home in Durban yesterday. Holland jointly holds the record for the most completed Comrades finishes with Louis Massyn and Dave Rogers, who has stopped running. “I’m hoping to run about 10 hours and 50 minutes on Sunday. I’m running with my daughter and it’s her first run, so I’m expecting it to be a very special and emotional day with her,” he said. The 66-year old said the most interesting thing over the years was the difficulty to achieve certain goals. He said it took a great deal of hard work and dedication to get certain goals and milestones that were normally time-based, like the Comrades. “I originally wanted to get less than seven hours and I battled to do that for a very long time. Overcoming that obstacle by thinking, strategising and unpacking my training has been the most interesting thing over the years,” he said. When speaking about the difficulties faced during the race, Holland said a runner needed great discipline and a “good head” to get through certain questions, such as “why am I doing this?”, halfway through the marathon. “Your mental side is bigger than the physical side. (06/06/2018) ⚡AMP
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Underberg local Nkosinathi Duma is dreaming big for this year's Comrades Marathon

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. (06/04/2018) ⚡AMP
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Wietsie van der Westhuizen has participated in 40 consecutive Comrades Marathons

Wietsie van der Westhuizen's love for running started when he was a student at Potchefstroom University in Free State, and he has since participated in 40 consecutive Comrade Marathons. He was invited to run the Two Oceans Marathon by a friend, and this lead to his first Comrades. "At the end of the Two Oceans Marathon, they handed out pamphlets on the Comrades, and I decided to do the Comrades. So at the age of 19, I ran my first Comrades — and I have not stopped yet," the 60-year-old said. He says running is a great sport, because it unites people.   "Anybody can run; you don't have to be a built person, you can be overweight, you can be skinny. Running is for the average person, and I love the spirit of running. Runners do not see color; they're just comrades, like a family," he said. Van der Westhuizen will be running his 41st consecutive Comrades Marathon is a family affair. "My two daughters are running, my son-in-law is running, my brother are running..." (05/30/2018) ⚡AMP
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South African's Johannes Kekana, says I am afraid this will be my final race in Comrades

It's gold or bust for Johannes Kekana at this year's Comrades Marathon, the veteran runner saying he is taking a final tilt at golden glory in The Ultimate Human Race. “I am afraid this will be my final race in Comrades if I fail to make it into the top ten this year,” the Boxer Athletics Club runner said yesterday. While he is one of the country's best in the standard marathon, Kekana has not made great shakes in the ultra-distances. His best run in Comrades came way back in 2013 when he finished 5th in a time of 5:46:27. Before and thereafter, Kekana never broke six hours. Why then is he putting his cards out on the table as he has this time around? “I am feeling like I did back in 2012 and 2013. One of the main reasons I've not had good Comrades runs is the lack of proper camp because of not having sponsors. In 2012 (he completed Comrades in 6hrs and three seconds) and 2013, I was running for Bonitas who organised camps for us. I also did very well in both the Two Oceans and City to City.” He has had a good camp in Mpumalanga and is looking forward to next Sunday. (05/29/2018) ⚡AMP
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Willie Mtolo is adamant that South African athletes will again emerge victorious at the Comrades Marathon

Running legend Mtolo is optimistic that the domination of South Africa’s black male athletes will continue in this year’s Comrades Marathon. The showdown for this much anticipated, world famous KwaZulu/Natal ultra-marathon will take place on June 10. This year’s edition is the Down Run and will see the race starting in Pietermaritzburg with the finish now moved to the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The supremacy of black local athletes has been evident in the past six years since Ludwick Mamabolo ended Zimbabwean Stephen Muzhingi’s three-year (2009 to 2011) stranglehold on the event. Claude Moshiywa, Bongmusa Mthembu (twice), Gift Kelehe and David Gatebe have ensured the title of The Ultimate Human Race remains on local shores. Mtolo is adamant that South African athletes will again emerge victorious in a fortnight’s time. “My money is on either Bongmusa Mthembu or David Gatebe. You can’t also rule out Gift Kelehe. I have no doubt that Comrades will be won by another South African athlete this year.”  “Between Mthembu and Gatebe, one of them will win Comrades. Mthembu possesses a very impressive record (5.28.34) in the Down Run,” explained Mtolo who finished Comrades runner-up in 1989 and 2002. (05/28/2018) ⚡AMP
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Former champion Caroline Wostmann has withdrawn from the Comrades Marathon.

Former champion Caroline Wostmann withdraws from Comrades. Wostmann made the announcement through her running club KPMG. "We all understand that her withdrawal is a loss for the 2018 Comrades Marathon and Caroline’s large number of loyal supporters. This was a very tough and emotional decision, but we all believe it was the right one for the athlete at this point in time," the club said. "As a previous winner of both the Comrades and Two Oceans marathons, Caroline was doing everything in her power to properly prepare for this race she so dearly loves. The KPMG Running Club will continue to support Caroline on her journey back to full fitness." Wostmann, 2015 Comrades Marathon and two-time Two Oceans champion, was in the middle of her journey back to full fitness after struggling most of 2017 with a torn quadratus femoris muscle (muscle under the glute) in her left leg. (05/26/2018) ⚡AMP
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Rob Davies biggest challenge is the 58 mile Comrades ultra marathon coming up June 10

Rob Davies will fly to South Africa in preparation for a gruelling challenge that starts on June 10. Rob, 59, will be competing in the Comrades Ultra Marathon, also known as the Ultimate Human Race, a road race with a distance of 58 miles (90.1km). The race starts at Pietermaritzburg and ends in Durban in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province. The race has to be completed in 12 hours, starting at 5.30am where the temperatures can be close to freezing and rising to a possible 80F as the day progresses. The terrain is very hilly, meaning an already extremely challenging race is made even tougher. Mr Davies said: “Family, friends and colleagues know that I 'run a bit', or should I say 'a lot'. I have been fortunate enough, privileged even, to be able to complete 48 marathons, across Wales, England, Ireland, France and Germany but this is by far my biggest challenge to date.” He started his training in December which typically involves 8 to 10 hours running weekly alongside strength and conditioning in the gym. (05/25/2018) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon medalist passed away Friday at age 28 - not sure why?

The South African running community is mourning the death of 28-year-old Comrades Marathon medallist Siphiwe Ndlela. Ndlela finished top 10 in the Comrades Marathon and the Two Oceans in 2016 and 2017. The medallist was in the Drakensberg over the weekend for a training camp when he fell ill. Ndlela complained about abdominal pain, sweating and vomiting during the camp and passed away suddenly on Friday evening. Comrades Marathon chair Cheryl Winn says his death has come as a huge shock. “We’re devastated to hear of the passing of such an incredibly promising and rising star, and our sincere condolences to his family and friends.” (03/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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Dean Wight will be running his 27th Comrades Marathon

The name, Dean Wight, is synonymous with running and the man behind that name has organized copious running events and this year will run the Comrades Marathon as an ambassador for the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. The Gillitts, South Africa resident said his journey into the world of running began when he was invited to attend a fun run when he was 11 years old. From that single race, his passion and love for the sport has grown in leaps and bounds. Dean has run 26 Comrades Marathons, 117 standard marathons and 51 ultra marathons. (02/22/2018) ⚡AMP
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