Mtolo in for some fun

2016-03-02 06:00
Willie Mtolo placed second to VladimirKotov in the Comrades Marathon in 2002.PHOTO: galloimages

Willie Mtolo placed second to VladimirKotov in the Comrades Marathon in 2002.PHOTO: galloimages

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FORMER New York City Marathon champion Willie Mtolo has signed up for The Witness Maritzburg Marathon, presented by Clover and Khayelihle.

Mtolo, who also twice finished as runner-up in the Comrades Marathon, has previously run The Witness Maritzburg Marathon three times.

The race on Sunday, he said in an interview on Monday, was easy to like: “The atmosphere is good and it is a very well organised event. It is a two-lap course and is very flat and if you want to qualify for the Comrades Marathon, it is not hard.”

Nowadays Mtolo is a coach. He operates his own club, which was formerly known as the Willie Mtolo Running Club but has since been renamed Elite Athletic Club. Among the athletes he trains is Bongmusa Mthembu, who won the Comrades Marathon on a down-run in 2014.

“I have quite a few groups that I am training and helping to prepare for Comrades,” Mtolo said.

“We do a lot of development. We are working with a lot of youngsters and I am also working with Chris White.

“He is part of the group because he is good on the track, so he focuses mainly on the short distances.

“I work on the long distances.

As for his personal aspirations for The Witness Maritzburg Marathon, Mtolo, now 51 , said his goal was simply to finish the race.

“Not fast,” he reckoned. “It is difficult because most of the time I am training other people. I’m just running to keep fit.”

Asked whether his competitive spirit still came out, Mtolo, a former South African marathon record holder with a personal best of 2:08:15, laughed: “No, it is not the same anymore. It is hard.”

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