Fordyce and Mtolo to train Comrades novices

Posted on May 27, 2007 by

Road running legends Bruce Fordyce and Willie Mtolo have joined forces with The Sports Trust to train a group of running novices to take on the ultimate challenge in the sport.

The two running icons are busy training a handful of beginners for the Comrades Marathon on June 17.

Teboho Mokoena, a 49-year-old Correctional Services employee, hopes to run his first Comrades in under ten hours. In a qualifying marathon – the Loskop 50km – Mokoena finished in a time of 5:20.

“I’m very excited about my first Comrades and have been inspired by a legend like Bruce,” Mokoena said.

Nomsa Nthethwa, from the Lesedi Athletics Club, has been preparing for the Comrades by running a few middle-distance races like the Soweto Marathon. The 39-year-old, who also qualified at the Loskop Marathon in a time of 6:06, hopes to dip below the 11-hour mark.

Nthethwa says Fordyce has been a major influence on her running career and that his achievements should inspire all South Africans to run the Comrades.

Mtolo has been an inspiration to Bhekabakubo Ngubane and Phillip Mhlongo, both members of the Willie Mtolo Athletics Club. These men run 160km a week in preparation for the Comrades. Ngubane hopes to one day win a silver medal, while Mhlongo has his eye on gold.

Fordyce won the gruelling ultra-marathon an incredible eight times in succession, and nine times overall, to make the race his own throughout the 1980s.

In 1990 Willie Mtolo won South Africa’s second biggest ultra-marathon, the Two Oceans, and when international sanctions against South African athletes were lifted in 1992, he chose to run the New York Marathon.

He beat the field in a time of 2:09.29 and received media coverage around the world. This victory afforded him legendary status and only one other South African, Hendrik Ramaala (2004), has since won this prestigious race.

The Comrades Marathon is the world’s largest ultra-marathon and drew a record 23 000 entrants in 2000. It remains the ultimate human race.