City’s champion’s amazing Comrades victory

Once a casual bricklayer in Pietermaritzburg, Comrades champion Bongmusa Mthembu has shown his merit by winning the gruelling marathon for the second time.
Now a professional runner, Mthembu, from Bulwer in the Midlands, strode home in comfort, much like when he won the down run to Durban in 2014.
Completing the race in 5:35:34, he was followed by Zimbabwe’s Hatiwande Nyamande in second place in 5:38:48 and 2015 ‘up run’ champion Gift Kelehe third in 5:41:48.
Mthembu, competing in his 12th Comrades with the Arthur Ford Club on Sunday has also racked up several other medals in the marathon fraternity.
Last year he finished second in the World 100km Championships in Spain, becoming the first South African man in 23 years to be placed in the top three. His win at this race also saw him cut 62 seconds of a 27-year-old national record held by nine-time Comrades king Bruce Fordyce.
Born in Bulwer, Mthembu said he began running while at school.
“After Matric, I left Bulwer for PMB for greener postures, only to find it was hard to get a job. I got hired as a bricklayer at that time and I was training just to keep my body healthy.
“In 2004 I started to enter some of the races, then in 2005 I won the Maritzburg Marathon without good training. That was when I started thinking about taking part in the Comrades Marathon, but in my mind I already had the dream of winning Comrades one day,” reads Mthembu’s internet profile linked to the 32Gi endurance supplement.

Maritzburg sun reporter

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