With the 95th Comrades Marathon upon us next weekend, the Nedbank Running Club has once again formed a formidable team dubbed as the green dream team who have a goal of not only dominating the top 10 but having the first athlete cross the line in the well-known green colours.
Whilst defending champion Bongmusa Mthembu goes on the hunt for a fourth win, many athletes, like Nedbank Running Club’s Edward Mothibi will be looking to come out on top. After finishing 4th on debut last year the tiny athlete who goes by the nickname ‘slender’ definitely packs a punch and has trained specifically for the June 9 classic. “I can say my training has gone extremely well and I am more than ready for the race,” said Mothibi from his training camp in Rustenberg. “I have put all my eggs in one basket for Comrades, even jogging Two Oceans as a training run where in the past, I used to race it.”
Also on the hunt is teammate Hatiwande Nyamande who joins countrymen Marko Mambo and Mike Fokoroni from Nedbank Running Club Zimbabwe. An uprun specialist, Nyamande has finished 3rd and 2nd in his last two races and if this trend continues, then history points to the top of the podium. With both Fokoroni and Mambo Comrades gold medalists themselves, the Zimbabweans will be ones to watch.
For the first time ever in the history of the race Comrades Marathon is attracting top Kenyans who have marked their authority in South Africa already. Last year’s Two Oceans winner Justin Kemboi and 4th placed Melly Kennedy will be taking their first serious attempt in the KwaZulu-Natal classic which is known around the world as the most competitive ultra-marathon.
Former winner Ludwick Mamabolo comes off an injury plagued 2018 and will be looking to make amends. The strong athlete who is actually a Nedbank employee and not a full-time athlete has 7 Comrades golds to his name and the experience to get him through. Mandela Marathon course record holder Thobani Chagwe, who like Mthembu also hails from Bulwer, will hope that on debut he has what it takes to make a name for himself. With a 2:19 marathon best from this year, Chagwe has both the speed and strength to make him a dark horse in this year’s race.
“We’re confident our Nedbank Running Club team will come with guns blazing at this year’s Comrades marathon. We have such a great group of athletes with incredible skill and endurance but more importantly experience. The Green Dream Team will definitely own this marathon.” said Nedbank Sponsorship Manager Kelly Thompson.
The team has also assembled a world-class international contingent led by Great Britain’s Steve Way. After weighing over 100kg and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day in 2007, he swapped the bad habits for running shoes, which has seen him run a British record over 100km as well as 2 Comrades gold’s in his only 2 attempts with a brilliant 3rd place podium finish last year. Accompanying him will be countryman Lee Grantham who boasts a 2:21 marathon personal best time but also a 6:42 100km, which shows that he has both the speed and experience needed to make a mark in Comrades. Along with American ultra expert Sage Canady, the Nedbank team certainly comes into this year’s race with numbers and is without a doubt the strongest team on paper.
With a host of experienced local and international athletes, the Green Dream Team will be supported by an incredible ladies’ team as well as 900 other club members from 13 local running hubs who will be ready to put their best foot forward at Comrades 2019.