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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Mothibi predicts fast race as Steyn talks about the record. 97th Comrades is here!

According to Edward Mothibi the 2024 Comrades Marathon has assembled its strongest field yet. The much appreciated 85,91km race from Durban to Pietermaritzburg will be the first Up Run since 2019. Mothibi, who won that last Up Run in 5:31:33, feels that the combination of experienced runners and dangerous upcoming athletes will make tomorrow's race exciting.

"I can confidently say that I'm ready for the race. It promises to be interesting as the older guys will want to shake things up and there is a blend of upcoming ultra marathon runners eager to leave their mark. For me, it is one of the strongest fields I have ever seen in the history of the race. Whoever is going to win it must be strong on the day. My main focus is to finish strong and add another gold medal to my name," he told #TheTopRunner during the elite athletes media briefing at the Southern Sun Maharani Hotel in Durban two days before the the world'd oldest ultra marathon.

Mothibi celebrates victory as he crosses the finish line to win the 2019 Comrades Marathon Up Run. Photo Credit: Nedbank Running Club.

The 39-year-old Nedbank Running Club top runner says everything went according to plan and can't wait to add a fifth Comrades medal to his name. Since making his Comrades debut in 2018, Mothibi has placed inside the top four on all four occasions. And with the organizers having announced an increase in the prize money, Mothibi believes it shall be one of the fastest races where the Up Run Best Time of 5:24:49 will come under threat.

"The training has gone quite well for me. I think we stand to see one of the fastest races ever. The record is not safe at all. Most of the guys will give it a go since there is big prize money on offer. But for me, I will focus on my race plan. The last thing is to run fast then ending up failing to maintain the pace. It's all about knowing what you have done in training and trying to execute that very well," he explained.

Steyn poses for the cameras after becoming the first woman to break six hours on the Comrades Up Run in 2019. Photo Credit: Comrades Marathon Media.

Meanwhile Comrades reigning Champion Gerda Steyn says her run will be dedicated to Phantane Athletics Club. The 34-year-old runner joined the club founded by Mdu Khumalo since last year and says if she can run faster that the 5:58:53 that she ran when she won the race in 2019, then she will dedicate it to the club which has become home to her.

"If I can win on Sunday, I will dedicate the victory to Phantane. The club does good development work where they go out to search for young talent even in the rural areas. Their wonderful work sometimes goes unnoticed. It's good that they put their effort into changing people's lives and they do this with limited resources, so that is inspiring. It's very difficult to predict if I can break the record or not. But with the amount of training I have done, I feel positive that if things go well then I could break the record. If I can break it, I would be very happy. It would be an awesome achievement." 

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