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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'By ultra runners for runners' - Comrades champions to lineup at inaugural Tshwane North Ultra 50km

Placed perfectly on the calendar for those who want to test their ultra marathon fitness in race conditions, the inaugural Tshwane North Ultra Marathon has attracted a host of South Africa's top Comrades runners to test out the new route. Organised as joint venture between the Atteridgeville Athletics Club, Addicted to Life Multisports and Lifestyle Club and Madoko Athletics Club the race which takes place on 22 April boasts the honour of being the only single lap ultra marathon in Gauteng.

A distinction which has attracted the nation's top 90km athletes to use the testing course as part of their buildup to the Ultimate Human Race on June 11. "Yes, we did engage and are continuously with other top runners. So far we have confirmed Edward Mothibi, Gift Kelehe, Thabang Madiba, Jacky Motimele and are still engaging with few others. We are open to other interested top runners to contact us," shared Race Organizing Committee Representative Mahlomola 'Hloks' Lebea.

Comrades champions Edward Mothibi (second from left) and Gift Kelehe (centre) have confirmed their participation in the very first Tshwane North Ultra Marathon on 22 April. Photo Credit: supplied.

That they have chosen this new race over a host of other ultra marathons being run at roughly the same time around the country, speaks to the attraction of this event. According to available records, The Tshwane North Ultra Marathon is the first to be run exclusively within the limits of Athletics Gauteng North. It means that runners based in Gauteng, the North West Province and even south western Limpopo who are looking for a 50km or 56km outing in mid-to-late April will struggle to find a better option.

Lebea says because they are counting on this, plans are afoot to make sure that both elite and social runners are well taken care of. "In addition to the Top Runners, we are engaging the pacesetters for the qualifying times to also be part of us. TNU is a completely untouched new route which goes in the opposite direction to the Wonderpark route. Many runners who did the 70km in July 2022 would be familiar with part of the route."

Madoko leading his runners on a 50km training run in the Wonderpark area of Tshwane during September 2020. Photo Credit: MWMedia.

The 70km route that Lebea refers to was a training run led by much-loved bus driver Madoko Ndhlovu, a selfless man who has made it his responsibility to help runners (newcomers and novices especially) to train for and successfully complete their first ultra marathon races. Knowing the needs of many of those who spend much more time out on the road than the racing snakes at the sharp end of the field, Ndhlovu's Madoko Training Camp (MTC) has been at pains to emphasize that water especially will be available in abundance on race day.

"Remember it is a race organized by Ultra Runners for Runners. We understand exactly what is required. Our water points will be on every 3kms - 19 in total. When it comes to ensuring there is sufficient water, runners can rest assured that no water point will go dry at any point. In addition to the normal water sachets, we have an arrangement with Tranquil Mineral Water (our event supporter) for back up of 500 ml water bottles just in case we are encounter a water shortage. Hence we request runners to register on time so that we can calculate accurate quantities."

The TNU'S water supplier for the race on April 22 says they are ready to make sure that runners are looked after. Photo Credit: 'Hloks' Lebea.

His point is well-made. And with 1900 entries still available there is no reason to leave entering the Tshwane North Ultra 50km until the last minute, which wreaks havoc with oragnisers catering plans. Moreover, because free t-shirts are included for all those who enter before the 3rd of March, there's added benefit to entering early. Secure you spot in a first 50km race run exclusively within the jurisdiction of South Africa's capital city by clicking HERE.

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