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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

'I'm aiming to be in the top three' - Rufus Photo ready for Comrades

When Rufus Photo lines up for this year's Comrades Marathon on Sunday (9 June) he will have many ambitions in mind, chief amongst them being to claim a top podium finish and retire from running. While it may sound like an uphill battle for a man who has never stood on the podium before, it is difficult to write him off when one considers that Photo managed to produce a superb 5:21:48 clocking to take a celebrated fifth position last year.

"This year, I'm aiming to be in the top three. I know people will think I'm too ambitious or what but I think I deserve to be there. That is why my approach for this year's race has been quite different. I think the amount of training and preparation for this year's race indicate that my chances to be among the top three athletes are good. I'm now know the race more better than before since I know the route and know what to do on the road. And if I manage to win on the day then I would retire from running the race because Comrades is brutal. So afterwards, I can focus on running from 10km till 42km. That is my dream at the moment," he told #TheTopRunner

Photo says his training has gone well and he is ready for his first Comrades podium finish. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

The top three might be on Photo's mind but he must first overcome some of his failures on the Up Run. In his three attempts running from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, the 44-year-old has only managed to finish inside the Top 10 once, which was back in 2013 when stopped the clock in 5:51. Thereafter the man from Polokane in Limpopo claimed 13th spot twice in both the 2015 and 2019 editions. 

"I've never done well in the past when it comes to the Up Run. Only in my second Comrades where I managed to finish in ninth overall. That was my best Up Run performance. But that's in the past now and I'm determined to change that. It starts with the right attitude first before making it happen. The good thing is that I'm feeling stronger and healthier as I grow older, plus I'm becoming more competitive. So It's going to be interesting to see where I end up this year. I'm focused. I want to rewrite my Comrades history," explains the man who represented South Africa at the 2016 World 100km Championships.

Photo celebrates his fifth place finish at the 2023 Comrades Marathon. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

With the announcement by Comrades Marathon Association that the prize money has increased this year, Photo who runs in the colours of Black Diamond believes organizers have done well to listened to the needs of the athletes. 

"Its a big improvement and a great step towards that R1 million that athletes have been seeking. From my side, I'm quite happy with the prize money as it now matches the amount of training athletes must invest in order to run the race. The prize money will also bring the much needed competition as athletes will be geared to snatch the big money. So I believe this year's race will be very competitive." 

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