Quintin van Jaarsveld
The South Coast Striders have left no stone unturned and look set to hit the ground running when the Comrades Marathon gets underway at Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Sunday.
It’s the biggest race of the year, THE highlight on the running calendar – the iconic Comrades Marathon, which this year is a 90km down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
Close to 20 000 athletes from across the world will tackle the 93rd edition of the Ultimate Human Race, key among them from a local perspective being 49 members of the Uvongo-based Striders.
The Striders contingent consist of legends, veterans and eight novices, who all share the common goal of conquering the world-renowned race.
In terms on milestones, the legendary Zwelitsha “Tiger” Gono, who has his own unique place in Comrades history as the first black athlete to obtain 40 medals, will be looking to clinch medal number 42.
Donnovan Mulder, meanwhile, will be running his 20th Comrades, while Deborah Berridge, Eric Mqadi and Arthur Flascas will be running their 10th Comrades.
Striders running captain Mark Smith says he couldn’t be happier with the athletes’ training over the last few months.
“I do not think that there are better prepared runners anywhere,” Smith told eHowzit.
“They have been preparing since November and have managed to get mileages of between 2000 and 3000 kilometres.
“I have been busy this year with setting up routes with hills – and mountains – to keep everyone strong and ready for the big day. This included the Oribi Beloved Long Run, the 50-kilometre with David Gatebe and the Comrades route tester.”
With the hard work done, this week is dragging on for the athletes as anticipation builds with every hour, however, Smith says the runners are in the right frame of mind.
“Besides the anxiousness and the members being slightly grumpy from the tapering, all are feeling positive and they will be able to unwind and get some last minute tips from the veterans at Wednesday’s traditional pre-Comrades pasta evening.”
South Coast Striders Comrades runners:
|NO||NAME||NO OF COMRADES COMPLETED|
|7||WILMA VAN DER WALT||NOVICE|
|12||MFUNDISO WESTON MVUNGUSE||8|
|14||ZWELITSHA (TIGER) GONO||41|
|26||FRANCES VUSI SIMAMANE||NOVICE|
|30||LENARD DU TOIT||1|
|35||RIAAN VAN DER WATH||6|
|41||CHRIS BHEKI MQADI||0|
|42||DAAN VAN NIEKERK||8|