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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I will just focus on being me' - Lizzy Babili to run City2City as Comrades Prep

After finishing inside the top twenty during the last two editions of The Ultimate Human Race, Lizzy Ramadimetja Babili is ready to take it to the next level at the Comrades Marathon this year. The 34-year-old who took eleventh place in 2022 in 7:02:42 and then improved on that performance with a Down Run personal best of 6:50:15 during last year's record-breaking women's race says having just returned from injury, the City2City 50km ultra marathon on 31 March 2024 will be an important litmus test on the status of her Comrades preparations.

"I'm using it as my training run because I've just got back into training. I chose City2City because it's back.  I heard about it about a month ago when people start commenting on social media that the race is back. So I thought let me try it out. Om Die Dam last year was tough so I decided not to go there with this fitness. Then Two Oceans, I'm not ready for it. So I chose this one because it's close by and it's a popular one that I always wanted to run since I got into ultra running in 2015," she explained.

Ramadimetja Babili smiling all the way through the 2022 Comrades Marathon. Photo Credit: Thami KaQoma.

Taking on the point-to-point race between Pretoria and Johannesburg which returns for the first time since 2015, the Ekhayalethu Athletic Club top runner says her main aim is to run free and enjoy herself on the road from the Centurion Rugby Club to Johannesburg's northern suburbs. But if the opportunity presents itself, the woman who is the owner of a 2:49:45 marathon lifetime best, has not ruled out the possibility of running hard to grab a share of the over R1 million in prize money on offer in the 50km race.

"It will be my first time running the race. I haven't got any specific pace planned, I'm just hoping I can find some athletes and we can run in a bus together. But when it's a race day and I see the top 10, my mood changes and I count myself in. I challenge for a position," she told The Top Runner's Phumlani Nkosi during the launch of the race which has been revived by the Gauteng Provincial Government led by Premier Panyaza Lesufi.

But even with a handsome winner's cheque of R200 000 waiting at the finish line at the Wanderers Club, Babili's focus remains squarely on the 90km race from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on the 9th of June. And despite the tremendous support that the mother of two enjoys from the running public, she says her aim is simply to improve on the 7:20:21 that she produced during her last Up Run in 2019.

"I've just started training but I know that I'll get it right. I don't have any target. What I know is that I am an endurance runner and I can beat my times. I want to be beat my personal best for the Up Run. I will just focus on being me and running my race and focus on the plan. I just want to break my time without putting any expectations on myself."

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