City’s hot-shot runner ‘just chilling’ after gruelling race

2010-06-01 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S Bongmusa Mthembu returned to the city after securing a gold medal in Sunday’s Comrades Marathon.

Mthembu came in fourth in a time of five hours and 37 minutes — three positions higher and four minutes faster than his 2009 run.

The friendly Bisley resident said he felt “dead” after the event and admitted to being stiff.

“But it is something I have been preparing all year for, and it is a good feeling knowing I have gotten my medal,” he says.

Mthembu will have to wait three months before he is presented with his medal and winnings.

For the first month he plans simply to relax.

“I am a full-time runner,” he says. “I train for Comrades all year long, but for a month I am going to rest and then after that I’ll get back to running,”

He trains without the assistance of a coach, and works out his own running schedule and fitness programme.

Since Sunday, Mthembu has been busy with radio interviews and conferences. He said he is looking forward to spending a quiet time with his friends in the coming days. “I want to spend my time just chilling with them until I start training again.”

Referring to the race, Mthembu said it was tough — as he expected it to be. “It was a long run, but I knew that it would be. All I could do was be strong and continue to the finish.”

He echoed the sentiments of other runners who said a large part of the race is overcoming mental hurdles along the route.

He said the key to a successful race is to stay focused on the end. “Keep pushing towards the finish. That is what I do, I keep my mind on the finish.”

Pietermaritzburg is a place close to Mthembu’s heart. He said he loves calling the city home. “Pietermaritzburg has a great vibe.”

Comrades round-up: The runner who fell at the start, pmb traffic department star and more: page 3

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