The Comrades Marathon is a test of endurance, where mental and physical strength meet.
As a popular fixture on the sport calendar, scores of athletes from around the globe participate in the 89km marathon. One of the runners participating in the run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg was Newcastle’s own, Sanele Mtshali.
“This was my second Comrades Marathon, my first being last year. It was tough, but I enjoyed it,” he says.
What makes a person want to run such a demanding race?
“I’ve always wanted to do it, as I believe it is a great way to test your mental strength and fitness levels. I also look up to Kabelo Mabalane, the kwaito star, who overcame drug abuse and other obstacles. He is an inspiration to me. He did his 10th Comrades Marathon on Sunday and I aspire to do the same.”
Prepping himself for the Comrades, Sanele explains a lot of training is involved. “I run 10km every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Then on weekends, I run 20km. I also do the cycling classes at Planet Fitness at least three times a week.”
He further relied on assistance from his coach, Kelly Stegen, who provided him with the necessary diet and gym routines.
Sanele finished the run in 11 hours 47 minutes. “For me, it is not about the medal. It is about my fitness goals. I want to be the fitness leader in Newcastle. I want to be able to change someone’s live in a positive way through this.”
Because of this, Sanele intends to do the Comrades Marathon again next year.
What does he enjoy about the Comrades Marathon?
“I enjoy the support of the volunteers along the road, getting help from people you never met before, the energy in the atmosphere, the mental preparation. After the Comrades Marathon, it feels like you can achieve anything.”
Will he encourage others to run the daunting marathon?
“I will definitely. For me, the strength and discipline required for preparing and running the Comrades, can be used in life. If you can focus so much on one goal for one day, you can achieve anything.”
From all of us at the Newcastillian, Congratulations Sanele!