The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Sport Administration department hosted a Comrades Marathon Send-Off Lunch last Friday, 07 June 2019 at DUT’s Hotel School, Ritson Campus for athletes who are DUT students, staff and former students that participated in the “Ultimate Human Race” last Sunday, 09 June 2019.
Xolani Mabhida, the coach of the three-time Comrades Marathon champion and the current runner-up, Bongumusa Mthembu gave expert advice to all athletes who attended this event on how they can conquer this frightening ultra-marathon.
He cautioned athletes to run their own races and endeavour to achieve their own targets instead of competing with other athletes because they don’t have any insight on their training regime and state of readiness for the race. “I always say that you should be honest with your level of fitness. It is also important to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Compete with the distance and challenge yourself,” he said.
“You cannot compete or complete this race if you don’t have a plan, you should plan early and be proactive. You need to be decisive and assertive, understand what you can accept and what you cannot accept. You must start with endurance, have strength to survive the challenges of the race and finish with speed,” he stressed.
He also highlighted the importance of training in areas with high altitude, particularly in preparation for the “Up-Run” and in order to successfully ascend the daunting Polly Shortts.
Head of the Sport Administration department, Bongani Yengwa said this luncheon was held to encourage and show support to the DUT athletes that are participating in the Comrades Marathon. “This idea was presented to us by Dr Mohale that it is important for the University to recognise the efforts of our athletes. We are also using this initiative as part of our efforts to revive the DUT Athletic Club, and to push for more DUT athletes to participate in the Comrades Marathon,” he said.
Director for Special Projects in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr David Mohale jokingly said the Comrades Marathon is a race for “crazy” people.
He said DUT management viewed this initiative as part of efforts to create social cohesion and enhanced students and staff experience. “We need to create an environment that enriches students and staff experience. Human beings are not resources but they are sources. We need to appreciate everyone as a source of our development as the University, and we are hoping that such initiatives will contribute towards achieving that goal,” he said.
Dr Mohale also shared his own personal journey with the Comrades Marathon, which he successfully finished in his first attempt last year (2018). “It took me eight months to run the Comrades Marathon, hence I believe that this is a race for ‘crazy’ people. But I believe that this race is more about self-actualisation,” he added.
All athletes were given “goodie bags” as a token of appreciation from DUT.
Pictured: Lauren Shell, Xolani Mabhida and Dr David Mohale.