WATCH | How duo was inspired to run the Comrades

Matanzima (52), Netshituka (55) run their first race on Sunday

Neville Khoza Journalist

As they embarked on their first Comrades Marathon journey, social runners Thabisa Matanzima and Livhalani Netshituka share their stories of how they were inspired to attempt the Ultimate Human Race.

The much anticipated 85km up-run will take place on Sunday, starting from Durban to Pietermaritzburg at 5.30am.

Matanzima was inspired by his brother, who ran his first Comrades aged 50, while Netshituka was motivated by watching the action from the comfort of her couch on television.

On Sunday, Matanzima, 52, and Netshituka, 55, will be running their first race and are looking forward to the lifetime experience.

“I was inspired by my brother. He is going for his 10th and I have been supporting him all the way. So he is the one who made me know about Comrades,” Matanzima told Sowetan yesterday.

“I was there to support him all these years. His story made me believe that anyone can do it because he also started at the age of 50 and made me believe that anyone can do it. It is just how far you can push.”

Unlike her running partner Matanzima, Netshituka's story slightly differs. She initially watched the masters running the race on television which made her believe that she, too, can do it. 

“For me, nobody inspired me, it was only after seeing old people  aged 70, 60 [running],  that I said at 55 I can also do it,”
Netshituka said.

“For me, nobody inspired me, it was only after seeing old people  aged 70, 60 [running],  that I said at 55 I can also do it,” Netshituka said.

“I started running in 2017 just after watching the Comrades and I was fascinated. I told myself that one day I want to run the ultra-marathon.”

Matanzima will be running for the Fat Cats Athletics Club, while Netshituka will be running for Team Vitality. Their target is just to finish the gruelling race.

“My target is to be on the starting line. Qualifying for Comrades was the best thing for me, so to be in the starting line ... I think is an achievement,” Matanzima said.

Netshituka said for her, the race will start at 60km, where she will need to be strong mentally.

“Hearing stories, it's not easy. You need to be ready and committed. And you need to be able to push boundaries ... and I hear that at 60km that's where it is tough and I'm praying that 60km won't be tough for me and my race will start at 60km.”   

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