'The approach must be tactical' - Tete Dijana to race FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon as part of Comrades prep
In his quest to secure a third consecutive Comrades Marathon title, defending champion Tete Dijana has opted to use the FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon as part of his preparation. The race is scheduled for the 24th of February in Botswana. The 36-year-old's decision to participate in the race means skipping the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km race happening on the 25th in Gqerbeha. The same race where he improved on Stephen Mokoka's world record when he won in 2:39: 04.
"I'm not going to do Nedbank Runfied race this year. That race took everything out of me last year. I ended up being injured after running it. Plus I decided to race in Botswana because of the good offer I received from them. This is a money-motivated move for me. I'm hoping to give it my best on race day," explains Dijana, who works as a security guard at the University of North West.
The Kazungula Marathon is favourite hunting ground of many of the country's top marathon and ultra marathon athletes who frequently cross the border for a share of the prize money. Last year Thembisa-based Givemore Mudzinyama, who went on to claim the maiden Totalsports Two Ocean Marathon title on debut, emerged victorious to pocket 50 000 Pula. This time around Dijana will be targeting an increased winner's purse of 75 000 Pula. He says will run a clever race.
"I have just started to training now so I'm not in my best shape yet. So I'm taking everything as it comes. It is also a good thing that the travel to Botswana is not long because long trips can also cause injuries. So I don't want to go too hard on race day. The approach must be tactical as I still have to save myself for future races. I promise to give it my all on the road when I am fully fit," he explained.
After winning the 2023 Down Run in a record time of 5:13:58, Dijana made no secret of his desire to represent the country in the Olympics under the standard marathon distance. But he missed out on the qualifying time after running 2:13:24 for tenth position at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon last October. It means that his Olympic dream remains on hold for now as he focuses on becoming the first runner since Zimbabwe's Stephen Muzhingi in 2011 to win three consecutive Comrades titles.
"Olympic dream? I think I failed to make it a reality. During the Cape Town Marathon, I aimed to qualify but pity the wind was too much on the day. So I decided I wouldn't continue trying to chase it. It is not something on my mind at the moment. So all I'm doing now is to get ready for the Comrades. It would feel good to win it for the third time in a row. So yeah, I'm hoping for a positive outcome," he shared.
Registration for the 2024 FNB Kazungula Bridge Marathon has been EXTENDED!!! Limited spots available so secure yours NOW by logging on to www.kazungulabridgemarathon.com