Fikile Mbuthuma sets sights on Comrades Gold after 3rd place at Bhekizizwe Joseph Shabalala Marathon
Comrades Marathon gold medalist Fikile Mbuthuma seems to regaining her old form. In 2023 Mbuthuma has managed to win last month's PDAC 25km and then on Saturday she ran a spirited 3:08:00 to claim 3rd position in Bhekizizwe Joseph Shabalala race in Ladysmith. At 42-years-old, Mbuthuma had to work hard especially after giving birth late in 2021, and things have started coming together this year.
"I'm happy that I managed to secure a podium finish in this race. I have started the year very well in trying to reshape in order to run those good times especially after giving birth," explains the Nedbank Running Club top Runner who hails from the town of Harding, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.
"I think last year, my purpose was just to get fit.The goal was to work towards running good times. It was a process that I didn't want to rush. Then this year, I changed the program because I needed to start being more competitive. So far, I'm on the right track even although I'm not happy with the time I clocked in this race. The aim was to run under 3 hours," said the woman who represented South Africa at the 2018 100km World Championship in Croatia.
Since taking eighth position in the 2016 Comrades Marathon, Mbuthuma has been celebrated as one of a handful of black women to earn a gold medal in the Ultimate Human Race, with some hoping that she could go on to be the race's first black female winer. Mbuthuma, who works as a receptionist at the High Performance Centre at the Moses Mabhida Stadium says the 90km run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban is the main race on her 2023 calendar.
"Am I still thinking about Comrades? Yes, It on top of the list of the races I'm planning to run this year. I still have big goal for that race," she said. "I'm not going to run the Two Oceans Marathon this year. I'm looking to get one ultra race to test my fitness before Comrades. That race should be early so I would have more time to recover for Comrades. I believe I have what it takes to come into the top ten again. To win it? It has became difficult especially young athletes have been running faster. My wish is to get another gold medal in that race."