Gongqa aiming for podium finish at Mangosuthu 52km
Former Two Oceans Ultra Marathon champion Lungile Gongqa is targeting a podium finish at this weekend's Prince Mangosuthu 52km race in the KwaZulu Natal town of Dundee which is situated in the Umzinyathi district. The race is scheduled for the 5th of September and carries a whopping R100 000 prize for both the men's and women's winner. The 42-year-old Eastern Cape runner whose last official ultramarathon race was the 2019 World 50km championships in Romania, says his training has gone well and he's hoping for a good performance.
"I can safely say that the training has gone quite well for me. But you can't be certain that you can reign supreme on race day because every single athlete is hungry these days because there are no races," he explained. "My aim is to come in the top three, then I would be happy with that performance. I'm not familiar with the route but with the limited field, it is better to focus on your own race rather than spending too much time planning for race tactics," he said.
The Phantane Athletics Club athlete is currently unemployed and believes the the prize money is a welcome incentive for runners, especially with the cancellation of races which has been commonplace since March 2020. "The prize money is good for us as the athletes after we witnessed the cancellation of races as Covid19 begun last year,"explained the Olympian whose story made national headlines when he revealed to #TheTopRunner earlier this year that he was struggling to survive after the Nedbank Running Club dumped him.
"The money will come in handy especially for the athletes like me who are unemployed. But I try and put the prize money out of my head and focus on running well on the day. I'm sure every athletes are hungry for that money so I expect tough competition," he concluded.