Taking on Comrades with confidence

2013-05-31 00:00

CHARNE Bosman (37) lines up as a novice for Sunday’s Comrades Marathon, yet she could tweak the form book and finish on the podium in the women’s race.

It’s taken Bosman a while to discover her talent for ultra-marathon running, having been more suited to half-marathons and the standard marathon, but she has entered a new world that is taking her to new heights.

“It’s a world of firsts for me. This is my first Comrades, and I ran my first Two Oceans this year and my first City to City [Johannesburg to Pretoria] last year.

“The ultimate first would be in Comrades, but that is not my main focus right now,” she said.

Bosman has matured enough in her running career to take on ultra-marathons with confidence. Her results are testimony to a talent and consistency that could see her perch on top of the Comrades podium sooner rather than later.

She was second at the City to City and third at Two Oceans, although the result in the Cape is still hanging in the air, depending on the outcome of tests for banned substances for the winner of the race, Russian Natalia Volgina. If found guilty, Volgina will be stripped of her title and Bosman elevated to second place.

“The step up to ultra-marathons has motivated me to focus more on my running and think about races and my game plan,” said Bosman.

“I enjoy the longer distances and plan to run Comrades with the same strategy I had at Oceans, where I finished in 3:40, the time I had set as my goal.”

That strategy saw Bosman run her own race, under no pressure, starting slowly and moving through the field.

“I had a powerful second half of the race and finished strong. I only caught the front women runners in the last 10 km of the race and at Constantia was still only about ninth. It’s all about patience and timing.”

Bosman achieved a personal best time of 2:39 in the standard marathon, clocked in Amsterdam in 2005 where she qualified for the distance at the following year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia. She recently set a new best time of 74 minutes for a half-marathon, and feels it’s time to start racing the clock at ultra level.

“I go into this year’s Comrades under no pressure. No one knows what to expect. I have no previous targets to beat and the day will take its course,” she said. “I like to run to a time schedule and would like a finishing time in the region of 6:25. That is my ultimate goal.”

Bosman said her mind was right and she was ready for those extra torturous kilometres toward the end of the race.

“The training has been done and it’s a matter of relaxing and not being put off by my strategy,” she said. “Ultra-marathon running is not easy, but it’s the character you display in facing the challenge that counts.”

Bosman runs for the Bonitas Athletic Team, managed and coached by three-time Comrades gold medallist Joseph Ikaneng. He has no doubt about the capability of his star woman runner.

“Charne is a definite candidate for the top three in the women’s race. She has had a great year and has trained well since starting in September last year.” he said.

Ikaneng brings a team of 14 to this year’s Comrades, and has Johannes Kekana and Charles Tjiane as his leading men’s race contenders and favourites to finish in the top 10.

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