Comrades champ says SA runners need attitude change
New Comrades Marathon champion Claude Moshiywa has warned that a lack of discipline by South Africans may prevent them from dominating the race in the future.
The Johannesburg-based runner comfortably won the 88th edition of the world famous ultra-marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, finishing more than nine minutes ahead of closest rival Jonas Buud from Sweden.
Moshiywa took the lead from countryman Johannes Kekana after four hours on the road, and charged ahead in the warm KwaZulu-Natal conditions to secure a historic victory in five hours, 32 minutes, 08 seconds (5:32:08).
It was the first time in over two decades a local had won the “up” run — the last man was Jetman Msutu in 1992.
Last year Ludwick Mamabolo ended a seven-year South African “down” run drought when he was victorious in the men’s race.
The latest triumph by Moshiywa sparked hope that it could be the start of a new era but the new winner played down that expectation.
“It depends on us to keep on working hard at winning,” he said.
“Most of us are not disciplined enough to make sure it happens.
“You find that when you invite guys to come and train together, they don’t want to. So we need to change our attitudes in that sense.
“We need to work together and make this the time for the South Africans.”
Moshiywa’s victory was just reward for the hard-working 39-year-old and improved on his consistency in recent years that had seen him secure four previous gold medals. He was third in the last “up” run in 2011.
Born in Sebokeng, Moshiywa now lives in Johannesburg where he mixes training with a full-time job at a bank and time with his wife and two sons.
“It’s very difficult because I wake up at 3am every morning and do at least 20 to 32 kilometres from Monday through to Thursday. On Saturday I then train normally,” he said.
“So it’s quite difficult and I hardly get any time to rest in the week. From 7am until 4pm I work.”
Moshiywa was left on his own for the final quarter of Sunday’s 86km race.
While he wasted no time building a significant lead, he struggle up the notorious Polly Shorts hill in the closing stages where he was reduced to walking.
“It was a case of being mentally strong at that point,” he said.
“It was very tough but I knew I had a good lead.”