Elite Athlete Development Programme Media Release
Mthembu runs into Comrades
Durban – It was another red-letter day for South African
ultra-marathon running at the recent Comrades Marathon, when
Elite Athlete Development Programme star and current South
African 100km record holder Bongmusa Mthembu ran himself into
the record books as he claimed his second Comrades title last
Mthembu, who won the 2014 down run to Durban, has been in
sublime form recently when he finished second overall at the
World 100km Championships, helping Team South Africa to win the
“I always want to keep improving as an athlete and I always
thought to myself that I was going to get another Comrades win
but I didn’t want to rush it,” the Arthur Ford athlete said.
“Having won Comrades before I knew how to win the race so I just
wanted to take my time and prepare properly for the race.
“It was important that I kept on working hard and pushing
myself,” he commented.
The 2017 edition of the Ultimate Human Race was as
uncompromising as ever for all runners and once Mthembu realised
that the race record was off the table his astute race plan
kicked in and he took control of the race.
“My coach and I had been working really hard on a plan
throughout the race and when we went through halfway and the
record was gone the pace slowed down.
“When I got to Little Polly’s and I was in the lead I felt that
it was my race from there and I was confident that I was going
“I got very emotional over the finish line because you only then
realise the sacrifices that you make through training for this
“Anyone can run Comrades but the training is the hardest part of
the event,” he added.
With a down-run win and now an up-run win to his name, Mthembu
was confident but wasn’t focusing on the win in the early stages
of the race.
“I knew that I had the ability to win the race but I didn’t put
myself under that pressure when we started.
“My preparation had been very good and I was mentally and
physically fit for the race,” Mthembu commented.
Mthembu’s fellow Elite Athlete Development Programme marathon
star Siphiwe Ndlela was on the verge of not being able to run
and a last minute decision from Dr Kevin Subban and himself saw
him take off from Durban and finish in an impressive sixth
“It was touch-and-go as to whether Siphiwe would even be able to
run,” Prime Sports Medical Practitioner Dr Kevin Subban
“He came back from a team camp in Lesotho and it was discovered
that he had a Grade One tear in his calf.
“We did a scan and it was a race against time to see whether he
was going to be ready to run but with some intense physiotherapy
he felt a lot better on the Thursday before the race – the day
we had to make a decision.”
Ndlela’s performance at the Comrades was a monumental
achievement with his injury just highlighting the hard work that
he had put in in the build-up to the ultra-marathon.
“I think that we managed to catch it just in time which meant
that he was able to run with the slight strain.
“His brilliant base work and preparation played a huge part in
getting him ready and able to run and to achieve what he did,”
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A second Comrades
Marathon title and a first up-rum win for Elite Athlete
Development Programme star Bongmusa Mthembu saw him enter the
Comrades Marathon record books last weekend.
Jetline Action Photo/
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