Mphakathi clinches Prince Mangosuthu Ultra Marathon
Ntsindiso Mphakathi showed that he learned a valuable lesson from last year's run at the Prince Mangosuthu 52k race, when he won the 2022 edition of the KwaZulu-Natala ultra marathon in 3:00:45 this morning. Mphakathi led for most of the 2021 race, only to be caught by Nkosikhona Mhlakwana in the last kilometre. But this time around, the 31-year-old Soweto-based athlete managed to stick with the lead bunch and only launched his attack in the last 3 kilometres leaving Siboniso Skhakhane to settle for second place.
Speaking on the finish line, the Entsika Athletic Club top runner said he was pleased with the way he executed his race strategy. "The race was difficult I won't lie to you. As an athlete, you must not take other athletes lightly and you must not put into your head that certain athletes won't be present at the race," said elated Mphakathi.
"There were a lot of good athletes out there. The most important thing is to stick with what you have been doing at training. The way I prepared for the race I was able to apply all those tactics. You can't change on the race day that you going to approach the race differently," he explained.
Mphakathi, who trains at the University of Johannesburg track in Soweto says he expected the fearless challenge from Skhakhane, who recently placed third at the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon in April.
"I did expect some competition from Sikhakhane. I know that he is such a good athlete. There are a couple of Xcel Running Club athletes who were on the leading pack too. I tried a couple of times to move away from the leading athletes but decided to move back into the bunch. But with 3 kilometres to go, I decided to take my chances which eventually paid off. It was a brave decision but I needed too in order to try and win the race," said the man who has also enjoyed a third place finish at the 2017 Soweto Marathon.
Mphakhathi who bagged R100 000 for his effort, with race organisers announcing that they intend to double the winner's purse to R200 000 in order to help runners who were hard hot by the Covid19 lockdown in the face of the ever-increasing cost of living in the country. The woman's race was won by promising Hollywoodbets AC athlete Nontokozo Mkhize who crossed the finish line in 03:39:01.