20 June 2018 Read: 71
Bongmusa Mthembu won his second consecutive Comrades marathon when he crossed the finish line at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban in a time of 5:26:35. He became the second South African to win this race twice after Comrades King, Bruce Fordyce.
But Tzaneen had its very own running contingent who travelled down to Pietermaritzburg to take on the 93rd instalment of the world’s most favourite race. Among them was one very determined young man by the name of Stephen Madiye (39).
Being a father of three, a husband, and a full time employee working from 07:30 to 17:00 at KM Bolt in Tzaneen, Stephen has very little time to run. In fact he has nowhere to train really. “So I run from my home in Lenyenye to work here in Tzaneen every morning. I leave at around 05:30 so that I can complete the 28 kilomteres and still be on time.”
He doesn’t run back home at the end of the day, at least not right now because in his own words “it’s winter now and it gets dark too soon so it’s dangerous on the road.” But in summer he gladly skips his public transport ride and hits heel to tar.
This year Stephen completed the Comrades in a remarkable time of 06:41:48 to land in 109th position out of the 23 000 runners who entered the race. The year before, he finished in 07:04:00 and claimed 192nd position overall.
“I’m going for gold next year. I know I can do it, I am too determined not to, but I need some coaching because I cannot continue like this training on my own.”
Currently he runs for the Foskor Running Club in Phalaborwa after having left Tzaneen Running Club. “I love Tzaneen club, it is my home town after all, but Foskor club pays for transport and accommodation where in Tzaneen there is no sponsor for any of that and the athletes have to fit the bill themselves.”
But, despite Stephen’s remarkable achievement, there were other reasons for local running enthusiasts to get excited about.
Whilst South Africa made a clean sweep of winning the coveted male and female first place medals in the Comrades 2018 – the quiet little Ofcolaco had something to celebrate too.
The Ofcolaco Harriers is the smallest, most exclusive and bargain priced running club in the country boasting 11 members in total. But, not to be outdone, they had seven runners competing in this years’ daunting down run.
Dog Noel completed his 25th Comrades Marathon and he also holds a coveted Double Green Number. His time was 11:40:19.
Bernard van den Dool completed his second run and knocked an incredible 1 hour and 10 minutes off his previous down run time to finish the race in 10:35:55. Arthur Davies finished in 10:26:01, Charles Boucher in 10:35:55, Michael Job in 10:26:01, Petlo Aurthur Matlou did it in 10:26:01 and Ross Elliott touched down in 11:20:52.