Tragedy at Comrades as runner dies after collapsing during race

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  • The Comrades Marathon has been beset by tragedy after an athlete passed away in hospital on Sunday.
  • Hollywoodbets Athletics Club athlete Mzamo Mthembu started having complications during the race and collapsed in Pinetown.
  • Comrades Marathon race director Rowyn James said their race doctor is visiting the hospitals where athletes were admitted, a standard post-race practice.

The Comrades Marathon's much-celebrated return after a forced two-year hiatus due to Covid-19 has been marred by the passing of a runner.

Mzamo Mthembu of the Hollywoodbets Athletics Club died in a Westville hospital on Sunday after collapsing while taking part in the "down run".

In a Facebook post, the Hollywoodbets Athletics Club confirmed that Mthembu started having complications along the route and collapsed in Pinetown.

"He was doing [the] Comrades Marathon yesterday, [from] where he had complications along the route and collapsed in Pinetown. [He] was taken to Westville Hospital where he sadly passed away," the statement read.

Hollywoodbets operations manager and Hollywoodbets Athletics Club president, Morgan Shandu, confirmed the tragedy to Sport24.

"He was in the F-seeding group, so I suspect it could have happened just before 15:00 as the Pinetown cut-off was at 15:00," Shandu said.

"He collapsed at Pinetown and was taken to hospital. We were informed of his passing late last night."

Mzamo Mthembu
Mzamo Mthembu

Comrades Marathon race director Rowyn James sent his condolences to the Mthembu family, from where he said their race doctor will go to the hospitals where athletes were admitted to get feedback.

"Our race doctor, as is our normal practice, goes to the various hospitals the day after the race and visits the athletes that were admitted," James said.

"He's doing that now and as we speak, he's at the St Augustine's Hospital and he said he'll contact the Westville hospital where Mthembu was admitted to see what transpired.

"We don't know what his condition was, so the moment the race doctor has that, he will advise me."

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