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Virtual race staged in three provinces

Cape marathon gives Mothibi chance to salvage tough year

Edward Mothibi missed out on many races but is ready for the virtual Cape Town Marathon.
Edward Mothibi missed out on many races but is ready for the virtual Cape Town Marathon.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

It is going to be a star-studded affair at the Sanlam Cape Town virtual marathon taking place in three cities on Sunday.

The World Athletics Gold Label Status marathon invited elite runners from all over the country to compete in the grueling 42.2km race. The starter’s gun will go off in three cities at the North West University, Potchefstroom, and other locations in Pretoria and Cape Town at 6.30am (live on SABC1).

Comrades Marathon winners Edward Mothibi, Bongmusa Mthembu, Charne Bosman and Ann Ashworth headline the list of big names taking part in this year’s event. Gladwin Mzazi, Phalula twins Lebo and Lebogang, Joel Mmone, Sibusiso Nzima, Annie Bothma, Tanith Maxwell, David Manja and Sikhubuzo Seme are also part of the list.

Comrades defending champion Mothibi, who will be running the Potchefstroom leg, says running a virtual race is all about enjoyment and honouring the invitation from the sponsors.

“I am going there to enjoy myself. We want to run to show that the sport still exists regardless of the difficult year that we’ve had. A virtual marathon is something new to me because you run against yourself and not in a bunch. But the most important thing is to run and finish the race and then wait for the results from another city,” said Mothibi.  

The 36-year-old father of three is targeting a sub 2:20. Mothibi, who is a clerk at Impala Mines in Rustenburg since 2015, is hoping for kind weather in the North West so that he can enjoy his race.

“I start training at 3pm, and sometimes I don’t see my kids until late. My day starts at 4.30am when I prepare for work. So far, I can juggle work and athletics,” said the Nedbank running club star.

He couldn’t defend his Comrades title this year due to the pandemic but is grateful that he is receiving a monthly stipend from his running club. Mothibi also benefited from the sport minister Nathi Mthethwa’s R20,000 relief fund and can also support his family from the salary that he receives at the mines.

“I bought a house in 2018 and paid it off with the 2019 Comrades marathon winnings,” said Mothibi, who is coached by Dave Adams since 2012.

He was supposed to run at the IAAF 100km ultra-marathon world championships in the Netherlands in September and the 42.2km Soweto Marathon in November. But both races got cancelled due to Covid-19.

The Cape Town marathon gave me something to prepare. It is a nice feeling to go on the road, knowing that you are preparing for a big race.  It was a tough year for all of us, and we want to run again,” Mothibi added.

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