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I won City to City by God’s grace – Mphakathi

Elite athlete says he is preparing for Comrades Marathon

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Ntsindiso Mphakathi winner of City-to-City Marathon at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Photo Veli Nhlapo
Ntsindiso Mphakathi winner of City-to-City Marathon at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Photo Veli Nhlapo
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Ntsindiso Mphakathi has described his victory in the City to City marathon on Sunday as purely accidental as he had not even planned to enter the gruelling 50km race.

Mphakathi secured the win by running 2:52:28 to claim another first place following his victory at the Soweto Marathon in November.

But unlike with the People’s Race for which he had prepared adequately, Mphakathi entered Sunday’s ultra-marathon – which started in Centurion and concluded at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg – only by chance.

“It was not part of our programme because we didn’t even know about it,” a beaming Mphakathi said.

“My coach only brought it up after we had done some speed work on the track, saying we could stand a chance. We’ve mainly been preparing for Comrades Marathon. I won only by God’s grace.”

Ntsindiso Mphakathi winner of City-to-City Marathon at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Photo Veli Nhlapo
Ntsindiso Mphakathi winner of City-to-City Marathon at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Photo Veli Nhlapo
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The athlete who runs in the colours of Entsika club pocketed R200,000 for coming first. He assumed outright leadership of the race towards the last kilometres.

“When we got to the halfway mark, I realised I was in the top five, but still I told myself I didn’t stand a chance, but when we got to the 37km, I thought maybe anything can happen. The other guys [however] were too strong. It was only in the last kilometres where I pushed hard because it was very hilly, and I handled it better than them,” he said.

Mphakathi feels he’s on track to improve on his Comrades position from last year, where he clocked 6:03:09 to finish some 50 minutes behind winner Tete Dijana.

“It was my first Comrades, and I didn’t know a lot about it, but now I have a better idea. I will give it my best shot. The people who win the Comrades are all regulars there, they know the route, so I don’t really have a proper profile of the race. But I want to improve from last year.”

In the women's race, Kenyan Shelmith Miriuku sauntered home in 3:13:04 ahead of Nobukhosi Tshuma and Deane Laubscher.


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