nhlapo eyes comrades
Pencil-slim Fusi Nhlapo, one of South Africa's ultra-distance stars, believes he is on the right track to reclaim the Comrades Marathon title he won in 2003.
Nhlapo has just returned from Maseru, Lesotho, where he was fine-tuning himself for this year's edition of the marathon on May 24.
Known as one of the biggest ultra events in the world, this year's marathon will be run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
Sowetan caught up with Nhlapo in Sedibeng where he was preparing himself for the trip to QwaQwa to put the final touches to his training.
"I was in Lesotho for two weeks where I also spent time with a friend [fellow runner and Nedbank Soweto Marathon king Mabutile Lebopo]," said Nhlapo, who has seven top-seven finishes in the Comrades Marathon.
"The training in Lesotho went accordingly and I'm now going to the Drakensburg Mountain in QwaQwa for final preparations before leaving for Durban on May 22.
"My training programme is also complete and I will take it easy on the mountain. I'm one person who competes to win and I'm going to the Comrades Marathon to do just that.
"Watch me this year. I'll win it as long as I don't feel any pain in my body on the day of the race."
Nhlapo, who runs in the colours of Mr Price, won the Two Oceans Marathon in 1998.
Other top runners to watch at the Comrades Marathon include Frans Chauke and Sipho Ngomane.
Top local women also going for the Comrades Marathon title include Farwa Mentoor, Carol Mercer, Ursula Frans and Leanne Juul.
Meanwhile, Athletics South Africa and event organisers decided to hold the marathon in May this year and next year to accommodate the Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.
Leonard Chuene, ASA president, said they were working in tandem with the soccer family in the country to ensure the success of the two competitions.
It will be the first time in the history of this celebrated ultra-distance event that it takes place in May in the next two years. Traditionally, this marathon is held in June.
"We have decided to throw our weight behind the efforts by Dr Irvin Khoza and his Local Organising Committee," Chuene said.