"I'm happy with my shape" - Edward Mothibi Comrades prep on track after winning FORTRESS REIT 21km
Edward Mothibi has sent a strong warning to anyone wishing to challenge him for this year's Comrades Marathon title. The Ultimate Human Race's defending champion has been in sublime form in 2022 winning the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge 5.6km race (17:13), placing third in 2:45:27 at the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km in March and then winning yesterday's FORTRESS REIT Half Marathon. The ultra marathon specialist defeated former SA 21km champion Lucky Mohale to win the Rustenburg race which also doubled as the an Athletics North West North Half Marathon Championships.
"It was good race as the course was mostly flat and fast. I'm feeling happy as it was not what I expected. It was actually my tempo run for the day, so the plan was just to push the body and see where it can go," he explained after clocking 1:05:39 for victory. "I'm very happy with the time because before the race, the projected time was supposed to be between 67 and 68 minutes, so to run 65:39 was a bonus! The coach is happy as well," said the man who is coached by Dave Adams.
With the world's oldest ultra marathon taking place in August for the first time in its 100 year history, every athlete completing this year's 90km Down Run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban will be in new territory. Yet the Nedbank Running Club ace remains confident that he can defend the title he won in 2019. And why shouldn't he because after running a new marathon personal best of 2:13:54 at in Cape Town last October, the 38-year old is in the form of his life.
"I'm happy with my shape. The training has been basically changed to accommodate marathon pace so it requires speed, so now we will be adding more mileage for Comrades," he explained. And because he holds a 3000m lifetime best of 8:32.04 which was set in 2021, Mothibi certainly has the requisite speed to beat the likes of 3-time champion Bong'musa Mthembu, Comrades Down Run record holder David Gatebe and Totalsports Two Oceans Runner-up Nkosikhona Mhlakwana.
Now that yesterday's win in his hometown is done and dusted, there'll be less racing for the man known affectionately as Slenda. "No more racing," he told #TheTopRunner. "But I'm doing Om die Dam 50km as a training run next month. Now all I am praying for for my #RoadtoComradesMarathon is to remain injury free," he concluded.