Ludwick Mamabolo and Claude Moshiywa are two men with the same dream and that is to win Comrades for a second time.
Mamabolo (Nedbank Running Club) has a good reason why winning on Sunday is important to him. If he is the first to cross the finish line in Pietermaritzburg he will make local running history. It will be the first time a black South African athlete manages to win the up and down race within five years. In 2012 he won the “down” Comrades. Last year he finished second proving that at 40 he still has what it takes to win. All he perhaps need is a bit of luck.
Experience has learned Mamabola to take nothing for granted when racing the Comrades. He is of the opinion that a victory is only assured once an athlete enters the stadium at the finish. Therefore Mamabola is not prepared to make bold statements as to a possible outcome of Sunday’s race.
“The only thing I can say is that I will race to the best of my abilities but so will most of the other top contenders. So I guess it could boil down to whose legs hold out the longest.”
Moshiywa is another Nedbank Running Club athlete who is definite contender. He won the Comrades in 2012 and has another six top ten finishes to his name.
If the soft spoken Moshiywa claims that running has saved his life it won’t be an exaggeration. He could have been a drunkard and loser instead of running legend.
Growing up in Sebokeng soccer was his big passion. He was not bad at it unfortunately as the years went on though; drinking soon started to take over the soccer obsession and started becoming a problem. Most times after a game or practise everyone went to have a drink.
The life changing moment happened when he watched the Soweto Marathon from the side of the road and thought to himself that he could do better than the athletes he was watching. He joined the Diepkloof Running Club but got a rude awakening when he entered to race the Soweto Marathon. He finished in 2 hours and 59 minutes. Being able to finish what he started was a huge personal victory but he admits to suffering big time during the race which was good as it motivated him to keep on running. He ran his first Comrades in 2000 finishing in position 1379 in a time of 8:04:44.
Moshiywa makes no secret as to why he stuck to running. It is the genuine friendships he made over the years. That regular running lead to a disciplined and healthy lifestyle is also a definite bonus.
“When I miss a day’s running I start to feel guilty. I need to run to energize myself.”
As a seasoned Comrades campaigner Moshiywa prefers to let his feet do the talking rather than just talking a good race and then bomb out.
“It is important to stick to your game plan when running Comrades. The biggest mistake any athlete can make is to allow themselves to be intimidated. At the halfway mark I will start to take note of who is running with me and try and judge as to how they feel but that will be it. As far as I am concerned the serious racing only starts within the last 25 kilometres.”