'Next year I'm aiming big' - Tumisho Magakwe targets 2024 TNU 50km title defence and Comrades glory
Despite enjoying a productive year that saw him win the inaugural Tshwane North Ultra 50km and feature on more than one podium including the Medlihelp Sunrise Monster, Tumisho Magakwe is not satisfied with his 2023 season. The Urithi Athletics Club top runner who also helped the Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) marathon team to take gold at the ASA Marathon Championships in Durban says he learnt some important lessons this year which he will take into 2024.
"I’m not satisfied with my 2023," he told #TheTopRunner. "I didn’t arrive at the level that I had planned. My challenge was that I couldn't always train according to my plans. To reach a high level in running is too expensive and it needs time. When you win all your money is reinvested in running because you have to buy shoes, supplements. But on the other hand you also have to look after your family, so if you only focus on running you’ll end up fighting with your family. So you have to sacrifice to perform well, especially for the big races."
After winning the TNU 50km in April, the 34-year-old was confident when he lined up for the Comrades Marathon in June. Training under the guidance of Comrades gold medalist Johannes Kekana in the KK Training Camp in Daveyton, the man who hails from the village of Kwa-Dlaulale close to Sterkfontein in Limpopo had been aiming to run hard with the lead bunch and return with his maiden gold medal. Although he managed to improve on his 2022 clocking of 6:59:21, Magakwe wasn't happy with his 6:14:07 finish for 96th place.
"I went to Comrades, I don’t what happened when I got there. I stopped before 45km. My body wasn’t feeling good and I felt dizzy. By the time I recovered the leaders were gone. But at least I managed to finish and ran a PB. I couldn't have done it without the support I got from my club and many people who I didn't expect to help me," said the man who holds a 2:26:59 42,2km personal best which was set at the 2022 Johnson Crane Marathon in Benoni.
It means that Magakwe's 2024 mission is clear: to perform well at the The Ultimate Human race and defend his TNU 50km title. And with the support that he recieves from his training partners, his club Urithi and mentors such as Lesego Mabitsela who coached him during his days running in the colours of Mr. Price alongside the likes of Soweto Marathon gold medalist Tony Skink, Magakwe is confident that next year will be better than this year.
"The day before TNU I was not stressed. For first time I slept well the night before a race. I was motivated by my training partners because we had worked hard together. That race needs you to be mentally strong and so I went hard from start to finish. That mentality is what you need at big races like Comrades. Next year I’m aiming big. I want to run a faster marathon before going to Comrades. That will give me confidence, especially if I can run under 2:20," he said.