ALTHOUGH Bulwer residents did not go to the Moses Mabida Stadium in Durban to support runners during the 2018 Comrades Marathon last Sunday, they watched on their television sets as their “homeboy” Bongumusa Mthembu won the 90km race from Pietermaritzburg City Hall to Moses Mabhida Stadium at an incredible time of 05:26:44. Mthembu was born and bred in Mbhulelweni village, outside the small town of Bulwer, and he grew up playing soccer. “The people of Bulwer are very proud of Mthembu’s achievement. I was watching television and praying for him to finish his race on time. When he crossed the finish line, I jumped up and screamed,” said Mbhulelweni ward councillor Mhleli Dlamini who had been close to Mthembu.He said Mthembu played football in the dusty streets of his home before he started running. In 2014, Mthembu won the marathon and he was victorious again in 2017. “When he won the 2017 marathon, he wanted to approach stakeholders to build a sport academy for the development of footballers, netballers and athletes. Some stakeholders supported his idea, because Bulwer has many talented footballers and athletes,” added Dlamini.Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Municipal mayor Ngeneleni Mncwabe said Mthembu’s victory has put Bulwer on the map. “The municipality has started promoting sport in schools and rural villages for young people to refrain from drugs and alcohol and Mthembu has been coaching youth to play sport. There are many runners from Bulwer who participated in the marathon and they made us proud,” said Mncwabe.Harry Gwala District Municipality mayor Mluleki Ndobe congratulated Mthembu. “Having won the marathon three times, he is the essence of inspiration to many aspiring young athletes in KwaZulu-Natal. “The municipality prides itself on having talented runners,” said Ndobe.