SHOWING THE REST HIS HEELS

ALL TOGETHER: Comrades winner Stephen Muzhingi celebrates victory with his family.Pic: Thuli Dlamini. 30/05/2010. © Sowetan.
ALL TOGETHER: Comrades winner Stephen Muzhingi celebrates victory with his family.Pic: Thuli Dlamini. 30/05/2010. © Sowetan.

ZIMBABWEAN runner Stephen Muzhingi admitted to have been under immense pressure to win the Comrades Marathon yesterday - for the second successive year.

ZIMBABWEAN runner Stephen Muzhingi admitted to have been under immense pressure to win the Comrades Marathon yesterday - for the second successive year.

Muzhingi won the men's category of the famed race in a time of 5hrs, 29 minutes.

Ludwick Mamabolo finished second in 5:35, the first first South African to cross the finish line.

Sergio Motsoeneng came third in 5:35,57.

"I had to endure a lot of pressure from other athletes and ordinary citizens to defend my tittle," said a beaming Muzhingi.

"This was evident in the manner the athletes reacted to everything I did.

"When I increased my pace, they would do so and when I decreased, they would also decrease, to show that they were watching each and every move I made.

"They were doing exactly what I was doing, but I must say that it was healthy competition," he said.

The Zimbabwean said he realised he was going to win the race when he had about a quarter of the race still to run.

"When I saw the board, saying we were at Hillcrest, I knew I could win.

"There were two runners ahead of me, which made me comfortable. I must say compared with last year's race, I was more comfortable this time round."

His ecstatic wife Elina and their one-year-old son Mathen joined him at the finishing line.

Muzhingi has not seen his son for some time since he was hard at training preparing for the ultra-marathon, that started in Pietermaritzburg and ended in Durban.

"I am extremely happy about his fine win. I can assure you that back home people are celebrating," Elina said.

"They will party the whole night. I was expecting him to win because he always performs well in everything he deed. He is a perfectionist. We will use the money to build a house back home in Zimbabwe."

Other Zimbabweans who were at the Kingsmead Stadium could not hold back their joy when their fellow countryman scooped the R250 000 top prize.

lThe rest of the athletes who finished in the men's top 10 are: 4 - Bongmusa Mthembu (5:37); 5 - Fanie Matsipa (5:39); 6 - Fusi Nhlapo (5:40), 7 - Claude Moshiywa (5:43); 8 - Petros Sosibo (5:45); 9 - Peter Molapo (5:46) and 10 - Leboko Noto (5:48).

X