Nonyana eyes Comrades title

TOP South African ultra distance runner Lucas Nonyana is primed for success at the 2010 Comrades Marathon in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.

TOP South African ultra distance runner Lucas Nonyana is primed for success at the 2010 Comrades Marathon in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.

Nonyana made a name for himself in this popular event after finishing fifth last year. Prior to the race, Nonyana's preparations were disrupted by injuries.

"I'm going into this marathon on Sunday in high spirits because I did not have injury problems," said Nonyana, who runs under the colours of Nedbank Athletics Club.

Nonyana has been in a class of his own in the past 12 months, including victories in the Long Tom, Karoo Ultra 80km and Om Die Dam marathons and IAU 50km World Trophy Final.

"Naturally, the plan is to win but it's gonna be a tough one because there are many top runners from home and abroad," Nonyana said.

Nonyana and Mncedisi Mkhize are the South Africans tipped to win in this event, which has been dominated by runners from the Eastern bloc.

Stephen Muzhingi, the defending champion from Zimbabwe, is also from Nonyana's club, which is run by legends Nick Bester and Bruce Fordyce.

The same club will also parade American star Josh Cox, who has a sub-2hrs:13min time in the standard marathon but is also the national champion of the 50km in his native country. Cox won the 80km trial ultra marathon last year.

After dominating the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town over the Easter weekend, runners from Lesotho are expected to also do well. South Africans out to stop the Lesotho contingent include Charles Tjiane, who finished third last year, Brian Zondi and Fusi Nhlapo. Nhlapo is one of the former local Comrades champions who hope to win the title again. Others are Andrew Kelehe and Sipho Ngomane.

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