Cape Town - The "past is the past" will be the attitude with which defending women’s Comrades champion, Charné Bosman (Nedbank Running Club), will line up to race on Sunday in Durban.
Bosman has arguably been the most consistent female runner over the last two years in the Comrades having raced to a victory as well as placing second.
One of the Comrades conversation topics over the last few days has been whether Bosman could do what Frith van der Merwe did. That is to win the up and down Comrades “runs” in consecutive years. Van der Merwe did so in 1988 and 1989.
Bosman admits that it would be nice to do so but then immediately reiterated that she does not want be obsessed with any specific statistic.
“To do so would be tempting fate,” said Bosman who credits her consistency in the world’s best known ultra-race to being able to stick to her game plan.
“I see Sunday’s Comrades as starting with a clean slate. It is a new race with its own unique challenges. Nothing I have done in the past will help me to run any faster. It will be all about now and about keeping my cool no matter what the other female athletes are doing. In the Comrades you can afford to be up to ten minutes behind the race leaders in the early stages and still catch up.
“As far as I am concerned the real race starts only after 60km so it will be important not to ‘burn too many matches’ to early on.”
Bosman certainly made an effort to stick to what worked for her the previous two years which meant that she again did bulk of her serious training in and around Graskop. The only difference was that she included the God’s Window loop in her training runs so as to properly prepare to getting used to run steep up hills.
“In the past I was slightly scared of the God’s Window loop as I was not sure how my body would hold out on the climb but I surprised myself with the ease at which I managed to get to the top.”
According to Bosman she purposely decided not to check how many kilometres she clocked in her built-up to Comrades. She only did so this week out of curiosity.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see that as was the case last year I again ran about 2 810km in training.”
Bosman said her preparation included sticking to a very strict diet in which she tried to cut out sugar completely. The net-result being that her weight dropped to 50.6kg however she is confident that it will pick up slightly in the next few days due to carbo-loading. Her ideal racing weight is 51kg.
She has already competed in four Comrades ultra-races. Bosman remembers her first race as a case of “fools rushing in where angels fear to tread”. She actually did very well by finishing in fifth place which was the best performance by a South African female athlete.
In the 2014 down-run she collapsed during the race because of a dysfunctional thyroid. She was unconscious for a few minutes and had to finish her race in an ambulance. The last two years she has been “Mrs Consistency”.