'When you leave everything for running it can be a burden' - Givemore gets R250k bonus from Entsika
Givemore Mudziganyama struggled to hold back the tears as he recounted the story of the hardship he had to endure in order to become a champion. The man who won the 2023 Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon on debut two weeks ago, was the guest of honour at a celebratory lunch which took place at his training base at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg on Sunday 23 April. As he thanked those in attendance, the Zimbabwean broke down in tears as he recalled his journey and those who helped him along the way.
"In 2009 times were very tough," he told #TheTopRunner after the luncheon which was organised by his club, Entsika Athletic Club. "I was staying at my brother's place in Cape Town and then this guy visited Glen Bentley who is a coach in Cape Town - his name is Tshepo Khoza. Tshepo invited me to Joburg for the Soweto Marathon 10km because I was still a junior."
Mudziganyama arrived in the City of Gold without a place to stay and was taken in by Khoza who then got him to join his training group based at the Ethel Grey Park in Melrose, north of Johannesburg. There Khoza trained both social and elite runners alike and it was where the young Mudziganyama would meet a good Samaritan who paid for his schooling so he could complete his Matric. It meant that the promising young runner could now find employment which allowed him to support himself as his running career struggled to takeoff.
Now the Asics Frontrunner was forced to balance the long hours of working in the retail sector with training to be a top runner. But he nevertheless caught the eye of the Waterfall Athletics Club. They took him in and gave him the initial support he needed to run a 42,2km personal best of 2:14:11 at the 2021 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. So when the Asics store where he worked at the Mall of Africa closed down last year, the 32-year-old decided to join Entsika Athletic Club meaning that he could finally focus on running.
The decision paid immediate dividends. Coached by Hendrick Ramaala, Givemore won the Kazungula Marathon in Botswana at the end of February which was to be the foundation for his victory at Two Oceans six weeks later. His win is the first for Entsika AC at one of South Africa's major ultra marathons and the club celebrated the milestone achievement by matching his prize money of R250 000 as club chairman Zakhele Mkhize praised him for his fortitude during the final 10km of the race when runner-up Dan Moselakwe seemed to be closing the gap. With half a million rand in the bank, the father of two says this is the breakthrough he needed to change his life.
"This race means a lot to me because it's one of the races that I always wanted to win. I wanted to win one of the big races. It's a meaningful win because I'll also be able to support my family. When you leave everything for running and you win R5000 it is a burden to you because that money doesn't last long. And after so many years that you've been running you don't have a win at Two Oceans or comrades or Soweto Marathon. So at least now for the people that have been helping me they can see that I've waited for long and they can see that they didn't waste their time or money on me," he said.