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A total of 14 Durban University of Technology (DUT) staff, students and alumni are gearing up to run in the 2024 Comrades Marathon, taking place this coming Sunday, 09 June 2024.

The DUT Sport Administration unit hosted a Comrades Marathon Send-off Luncheon known as the “Pasta Party” to wish the best of luck to all DUT athletes who will be running the Comrades Marathon. This luncheon, which served as a motivational and a celebratory occasion for all of the esteemed DUT Comrades Marathon athletes, was held at the Rendezvous Restaurant, Steve Biko campus in Durban on Monday, 03 June 2024.

The 14 DUT athletes comprise of seven staff members namely, Mr Steven Mkhize, Mr Douglas Sotsaka, Mr Patrick Mhlongo, Mr Thabani Mhlongo, Mr Adelo Myambo, Ms Colleen Lotz and Mr Samuel Ntsanwisi. Three students, Mr Lindokuhle Manyoni, Ms Nqobile Mngadi and Mr Ngceba Kenisa and four alumni, Mr Senzo Mdladla, Mr Eric Mkhize, Ms Yenzi Olifant and Mr Craig Dunhill. From the list, there are three ladies, whilst two athletes will be participating in their first Comrades Marathon.

The programme director was the DUT Midlands Sport Officer, Mr Qhawe Mncwabe who began by congratulating all the athletes for qualifying to run in the upcoming Comrades Marathon.

Delivering the welcome remarks was Mr Bongani Yengwa, Manager of the Sport Administration unit at DUT. He indicated that the purpose of the event was to honour and celebrate the dedication and hard work of the DUT athletes who will be participating in the 2024 Comrades Marathon, which is an Up Run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

“Your commitment to your sport and pursuit of excellence is commendable and it is testament to your passion and drive. We do not only celebrate your athlete work but also acknowledge the values of teamwork, sportsmanship and comradery as part of your sport spirit,” said Mr Yengwa.

The Director of Special Projects in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal at DUT, Dr Matheakuena Mohale, who ran his second Comrades Marathon in 2022, shared words of encouragement with the athletes. He commenced by applauding the DUT Sport Administration unit for consistently working towards implementing the DUT Sport vision. He asked the athletes their reason for running the Comrades Marathon this weekend.

“If you have not found a very good answer to that question, I hope between now and Sunday you will find a response to that because that will what will ultimately shape, or contribute directly, to your performance on Sunday,” shared Dr Mohale.

Addressing the first time athletes, Dr Mohale said that they must know that from the start to halfway, they will be warming up and the race will start from halfway. Dr Mohale admitted that this had provided him with the best strategy towards approaching his first Comrades Marathon in 2018 and it also assisted him during his second run in 2022.

Speaking on behalf of the staff was Ms Collen Lotz, from the Sport Science Department at DUT. Lotz, who is an experienced runner, indicated that strength training was by far the best thing for any of the athlete, especially those like her who are over the age of 40.

“You need to have strength which is far more important than actually running to keep yourselves going. So please, anybody who wants advice, or any input please come to our department. Thank you to all the supporters, DUT management and Mr Bongani Yengwa for being phenomenal. Just being part of this for three years has blown me away in terms of a sense of community and belonging at DUT,” shared Lotz.

Representing the student athletes was Emergency Medical Care and Rescue alumnus, Ms Yenziwe Olifant who will be running the Comrades for the fourth time.

“I am not an experienced runner; this is my fourth Comrades since I started in 2019. I run for fun, I like photos and to have fun at the back of the field. My advice is just have fun guys,” said the cheerful Olifant.

Conveying messages of support was the Senior Director of Human Capital Services at DUT, Mr Mxolisi Msomi and Mr Thabani Mhlongo, Senior Director of Real Estate Management. They encouraged the runners to enjoy themselves and wished them well in achieving their goals.

In closing, the DUT Sport Officer, Mr Yandisa Mdolomba assured the athletes that the DUT support team, consisting of executive management, staff and students, will be stationed at two points along the Comrades Marathon route to cheer and provide support to them, during the race. The first DUT support station will be at Hillcrest, Old Main Road, opposite Astron Energy and the shopping mall, whilst the second support station will be at Cato Ridge, opposite Paddington Station Pre-School (Doornrug Road and Vrijheid Avenue).

Pictured: DUT staff and students who will be running in the 2024 Comrades Marathon.

Photographer: Khuasande Tshayile

Simangele Zuma

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