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Nelspruit Marathon Club athlete Samuel Makamu says he is ready to match the Forever Resorts Loskop Ultra Marathon record set by 1996 Olympic gold medallist Josiah Thugwane in 2005.
The 50km and 21,1km Wild Challenge will take place on April 18 in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.
Thugwane's record time is 2:44:03. He was out of the race last year, but he is expected to make a comeback this year.
Zimbabwean Hermans Mokgadi of Nedbank Marathon Club won it in 2:51:42, two minutes ahead of Makamu, who finished in 2:53:18.
"I have been working hard with my coach (Owen McGee) for the past few months in preparing for this race. My aim is to emulate Josiah's record," said the athlete from Matafin Trust in Nelspruit.
He said he will also use the race as a training run for the upcoming Comrades Marathon.
"My sponsor has motivated me by setting aside incentives if I do well in both races. Their long-term goal is to see me winning the Comrades. In the meantime, with the help of my coach and my sponsor's financial support, I see this dream reachable," he said.
"I idolise people like Sipho Ngomane, who managed to win it (Comrades), and training with him sometimes encourages me towards achieving his feat one day."
Avis has promised Makamu R10000 if he finishes in the top 10 and another R10000 if he completes in less than six hours.
Runners who wish to enter the Loskop can phone 013-243-3391 or visit www.loskop-marathon.co.za. Entry fees are R130 for the marathon and R80 for the half marathon.