Reigning Comrades champion fit and ready

It had been a long time coming for long-distance runner Edward Mothibi before he wrestled the Comrades Marathon title from race favourites two years ago.

On his way to being crowned champion, Mothibi upset the likes of three-time champion Bong’musa Mthembu, Comrades ‘down run’ record holder David Gatebe and Two Oceans runner-up Nkosikhona Mhlakwana.

The Comrades Marathon was last held in 2019 and went into a hiatus because of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but thankfully for ultra-distance devotees, it is back this year and Mothibi will be defending his title next Sunday, August 28.

The defending champion had two failed attempts at winning the race before he tasted success in 2019 and is ready for the 95th edition of the race, starting at 5.30 am.

It combines a virtual and physical running challenge in rallying around a very real issue of mental health that is a scourge in the country.

Mothibi, 37, a member of the elite Nedbank Running Club, has been intimating since May that he is raring to defend his title in the down run from the
Pietermaritzburg City Hall to Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium after winning the 2019 ‘up run’.

The title holder has been keeping himself in fine form.

Last year, he ran the Cape Town Marathon where he finished the 42.2km race in 13th position with a personal best time of 2:13:54.

In this year’s preparations, Mothibi won the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge 5.6km race in 17:13 and was third in 2:45:27 at the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km event in March before winning the Fortress Reit Half Marathon.

Mothibi, who is coached by Dave Adams, also won the SA 21km Championship, defeating race favourite Lucky Mohale in Rustenburg. The event
doubled as the Athletics North West North Half Marathon Championships and was an integral part of his preparations for the big one.

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