Mthalane joins Hollywood AC and prepares to make Comrades Marathon debut
South African long-distance runner Msawenkosi Mthalane has signed a 1-year professional running contract with Hollywood Athletics Club for the upcoming 2024 road running season. During his successful four-year tenure with the Entsika Running Club, the 29-year-old made a name for himself as a promising ultra-distance athlete. He claimed fourth at last year's Totalsports Two Ocean Marathon in a time of 3:11:16, then roughly a month later he delivered a top performance on a hilly and challenging course in Northern KwaZulu-Natal to settle for a second position in 2:57:52 during Prince Mangosuthu 52km race.
Speaking to #TheTopRunner, Mthalane said his move to Hollywood excites him as it opens new challenges and will bring change to his life. "I'm very excited that I have joined the club (Hollywood). It is a very wonderful club with big intentions for the future. It was not easy to move away from Entsika as I have been part of the club since 2020. They were good to me in many ways and I appreciate the work they have put into me," explains the man who hails from Pietermaritzburg.
"But in life, we have to make choices to grow to another level. So when Hollywood approached me with an offer, I looked closely and decided to take it. I am happy with what they promised to bring to the table. So the important thing is to be at my level best all the time to reward them for the faith they put in me. To me, sport is my life so I must continue to treat it that way. With all being said, I'm very excited to open the season in new club colours," he said.
The Under Armour ambassador has not only joined a new club but he has also changed coaches as well. He will now leave former New York Marathon winner Hendrick Ramaala to continue under the guidance of Andrew Booyens at his base camp in Pietermaritzburg. Booyens is no stranger to the ultra marathon and marathon coaching having guided the likes of Lesotho marathon national record holder Neheng Khatala and Motlokoa Nkhabutlane. Mthalane explains that part of his reason for joining The Purple Team is because it aligns with his goals of tackling The Ultimate Human race for the first time this year.
"I think one of the reasons, I chose to join Hollywood is because I want to run Comrades this year. I spoke to some of the guys from my area, and they advised me that Pietermaritzburg offers some great places to train for long distances. So I'm hoping to have sufficient energy to take me to the finish line. So I must plan properly as I won't run every race. That is crucial especially because people say that the Up Run is challenging. My dream is to be in the top ten one day. I'll keep working hard to make it happen."