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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

'I just wanted to finish the race, so to get a gold is a bonus' - Mudziganyama elated with Comrades gold

Entsika Athletics Club elite runner Givemore Mudzinganyama is delighted to have grabbed a Comrades Marathon gold medal on his first attempt. Mudzinganyama put on a spirited performance during the latter stages of the 97th edition of the 85,91km race to overtake his competitors and secure the very last gold medal. The 34-year-old cocked 5:37:09 to finish in a deserving 10th place in during the Up Run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 9 June. Speaking to #TheTopRunner, the man who trains at Zoo Lake under the watchful eye of former New York Marathon winner Hendrick Ramaala, was pleased with his performance. 


"I'm very happy with my performance. I came into the race simply wanting to finish the race so to end up being in the top 10 is a bonus for me. The idea was to understand the race better so I can come in future races with better knowledge of it. I started to make moves then overtake athletes before the Polly shorts. I was feeling a bit cold for most of the race as I didn't expect those kind of weather conditions. So in the end, I had to chase very hard. Even my last kilometre was my fastest one in order to get the top 10 finish. It was a big effort on a tired body," explains Mudzinganyama who hails from Zimbabwe but lives in the Ekurhuleni Township of Thembisa. 


Mudziganyama receives his Comrades gold medal from Comrades Marathon Association Board Member and KwaZulu-Natal Athletics President Steve Mkasi. Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg.

Mudzinganyama who won the 2023 Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon and then claimed a second consecutive podium position at the 56km race around the Cape peninsula in April when he finished in 3:11:13 revealed that he never planned to run Comrades this year but his wife Nobuhle Tshuma convinced him to take part. The pair became first husband and wife combination to win Gold medals during the same race when Tshuma finished fifth place (6:12:18) in women's race.


"Comrades was something on my mind from the beginning of the year. I had planned to run it so the training was about getting ready for it," explains Tshuma. "My husband didn't plan to run it though, but after he did well in Two Oceans, I sat down with him and asked him why he doesn't tackle Comrades because he did well in Two Oceans. If you run 56km so well what can stop you from adding 30km to finish the Comrades? Then he was sold on my idea and managed to take part in the race and he ended up doing well in the end."

 


The first husband and wife combination to win gold medals during the same Comrades Marathon race pose with their coach Hendrick Ramaala. Photo Credit: Givemore Mudziganyama.

Now that he has won Two Oceans tasted Comrades gold, Mudzinganyama, dreams of joining a select group of athletes including greats usch as Bong'musa Mthembu and David Gatebe to have won both Two Oceans and Comrades. He warns though that winning The Human Ultimate Race will not be easy because the ultra distance is always unpredictable. 


"I think I can be happy if I can come and do another Top 10, maybe a win if possible. But you can't guarantee a win in an ultra race. In a distance over 50km, there are always challenges even if you are the best runner. So for us the main is to remain hopeful and try to produce good results based from on the training we have done."

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