Kumalo to tackle 50km world record as Nedbank splurges on prize money
Ultra Marathon specialist Prodigal Kumalo will be amongst the invited athletes in an attempt to break the 50km world record at a race on in Port Elizabeth on 23 May. This special event organized by Nedbank aims to eclipse the record set by the legendary Thompson Magwana at the 1988 Two Oceans Marathon (2:43:38) or at least the more recent mark run by American runner CJ Albertson (2:42:30) in a 50km time trial on the track last year. The athletes that have been called on to tackle the record include former World 50km Champion Colleen Makaza and Maxed Elite Comrades Marathon top 20 finisher Nkosikhona Mhlakwana.
The race will be held in Pollock Beach on a 7.145km loop with a whopping R650 000 prize money which includes incentives if the world record is broken. Speaking to #TheTopRunner yesterday, Nedbank Running Club national manager Nick Bester confirmed the news but he said all the necessary information will be released on the proper race launch which is expected to happen next week.
"Yeah, it's true we planning the big race to attempt to break 50km record," revealed Bester. "I can't give all the details for now but watch out for the launch next week to get all the necessary information," he said.
Kumalo, a two time Ultra Trail Cape Town( UTCT) champion is the holder of a 2:50 50km personal best which he achieved in 2008. He is humbled to be considered for this race especially after road races dried up when the Covid 19 lockdown was put in place in March last year. He thinks these kinds of races will boost athletes who have been training hard in the hope that races will return.
"It is exciting times for sure.Thanks to Nick Bester and Michael Mbambani the organizers for putting together something like this," explains the Comrades Marathon gold medalist. "We need more people like them in this sport who will go out of their way for athletes. My training is on track at the moment. I just need to watch out for every move I make in my preparations because my body is prone to injuries. Other than that I will be ready for the 23rd of May," he said. The two-time winner of the Sani Stagger Marathon, which also happened to be the last marathon he raced in 2019, believes the course is perfect for athletes to run fast times and allow him to set a personal best.
"My last proper race was Sani Stagger 42km in 2019 that I won," explains Hollywoodbets sponsored runner. "I didn't know what to train for. My training was all over the place. Now I've got something to train for which is exciting. Before the 50km world record attempt I will be lining up for the Ultra Trail Drakensberg on 23 April then carry on with preparations for the 50km race. Southern Africa has got strong and fast ultramarathon runners. I strongly believe they are capable of breaking the world record," he concluded.