Unpaid leave pays for Mamabolo
LUDWICK Mamabolo was so determined to win the Comrades Marathon that he applied for three months' unpaid leave to focus on his training.
Mamabolo, who is employed by Absa in the loans division in Kempton Park, became the first South African since 2005 to win the marathon in Durban yesterday.
The last South African to win the race was Sipho Ngomane of Mpumalanga.
Mamabolo's parents' home in Turfloop, outside Polokwane, was flooded with relatives, family friends and neighbours after he was crowned the new Comrades king yesterday.
Later in the day Mamabolo's family were invited to the royal house in Segopye by Chief Kgoshigadi Mposho Mamabolo to congratulate them on their son's achievement.
Mamabolo's uncle and top development soccer coach Jerry Ramohlale was on hand to welcome the wellwishers.
"I could not believe it when Ludwick told me he had applied for three months' unpaid leave to come to Limpopo for training," Ramohlale said.
"I used to drive behind him between Turfloop and Magoebaskloof. We also did the Turfloop-Lebowakgomo route.
"We have been getting congratulatory messages from the Limpopo provincial government and many other people."
The runner's father, Jerry Mamabolo, said: "Ludwick has never let us down, we are very proud of him. We are planning a big party to welcome him back in Limpopo and this will be done jointly with the royal family."
Mamabolo was born Modibe Ludwick Mamabolo in Segopye village on April 14 1977.
As a youngster he played soccer, participated in singing at school and featured in athletics. His father asked him to choose one activity because he could not afford to pay for all three.
He opted for athletics.
In soccer, Mamabolo was a member of Tshiamo Academy run by Ramohlale.
Mamabolo, who is not related to the legendary Titus Mamabolo, has a BCom degree and is studying to become a chartered accountant.