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My Comrades Marathon 2013 Favorites. Will the @ComradesRace title remain with South Africa?

by on May 11, 2013

The Comrades Marathon is taking place in exactly 20 days from today. With last year’s developments, I honestly can’t wait to see who will be crossing the finish line first in the 88th installment of the race. So with my patience of the 2nd June completely out, I have made up my own results in my mind. Let’s call them ‘predictions’ and just my own personal opinion.

Comrades 2013 Men to Watch and our Favorites

Claude Moshiywa

Claude Moshiywa This is the man to watch at this year’s Comrades Marathon. Claude achieved his PB (personal best time) on an up-run in 2011. At that run he pretty much ran in “No Mans Land” behind Muzhingi and Matshipa during the second half of the race and he came in 3rd beating his PB overall for his 1st podium at Comrades. To do this takes major mental strength, and it is to this end that I feel that Claude has the mental strength to give it a good go this year. 2012 was a down-run and he finished in 8th position, running his PB time at Comrades. So every year Claude just gets better and better. Claude entered The Two Oceans Marathon this year as a training run to gauge his speed work, not a lot of hard work went in and came in at 11th. He ran at a varied pace at certain parts of Oceans to test himself at different levels and he finished the 56km event in 11th position in trying conditions. I feel he ran a great Two Oceans as he didn’t take too much out of himself for the big C on 2 June. In 2012 he didn’t train as much as he would have liked with only one 70km run but in 2013 he has had a good build up.

Ludwick Mamabola, Bongmusa Mthembu (Centre) and Claude Moshiywa (Comrades 2012)

Well, what can you say about this phenomenal athlete. A product of KZN, and in a short time in Ultra Running has more than proved himself over the 89km distance. Bongmusa worked in the construction industry as a labourer before his talent was noticed by Mr Price, so you know he is strong. His first Up run, 2006, he was a mere 22 years old and finished in 52nd position with no real formal training. Counting against him is that his 3 golds have come in the down run, and his best up run result 12th in 2011. But in 2010 he was 4th and Sergio Motsoeneng was later disqualified for a banned substance and he was moved up to 3rd, so has tasted the podium on two occasions, 3rd and 2nd so this could be his year, if he has bulked up on the strength work. He has won many races across all distances but he is still extremely young in terms of being an Ultra Runner, (28) so its just as matter of time for this athlete until he breaks the finish tape at the Ultimate Human Race. Bongmusa is also a resident of PMB and wants to emulate the great Shaun Meikeljohn in winning the trophy for the City of Pietermaritzburg.

Ludwick Mamabolo (Comrades 2012)

Ludwick Mamabolo 2011 was an up-run and he came 8th. In 2010 on a down-run he came 2nd (Debut), down-run 2012 he came 1st. I think it’s safe to assume that he is stronger on the down run and won’t fare as well on the up-run, but he’s strong and has been training hard, so no telling there really. He comes from an excellent blood line in running, with his Grandfather being a South African icon in distance running. Maybe on his one and only up run he held himself back as he was not sure what to expect, but now he has a taste for winning and knows what to expect on the up run he will be a force to be reckoned with. Yes,s he has had a long road awaiting the final result of his case, which was finalised last week and I am sure he wants to put the record straight and you can guarantee him giving it his all.

Stephen Muzhingi

Stephen Muzhingi, well no more needs to be said about this man. He has it all in his repertoire. He has won both up and down runs, with 3 consecutive wins. Has stood on the podium twice on the Up Run with a best time of 5H32:46 Up run and boasts the second fastest time in the History of Comrades with a 5H23:27 (down). He has won Two Oceans with numerous Golds, as well as the Chatsworth Ultra which he has held the record as well. Who could forget the 2011 Up run battle with Fanie Matshipa where the two fought it out shoulder to shoulder from half way at incredible speeds at times. Muzhingi came out on top and he has learned that he can run at a higher pace from an earlier distance in the race. You know Stephen is as fighter and he will do everything he can to retain his Up Run title this year. From a not so good result at Oceans this year, albeit picking up a calf strain during the race we know he has fully recovered from this and has been holed up in Zimbabwe training in secrecy. On Twitter he likened himself to the King of the jungle saying “Beware the Hungry Lion” and if he is on form and focused, I think he will be unstoppable.

David Gatebe: Not much is known about David and his win this year at Two Oceans 56km was one of the most gutsy and determined runs I have seen from an athlete at Two Oceans. He simply blew his competitors away, and when he crested Constantia Neck he was going at a great pace and recovered from that climb extremely quickly and as they say, never looked back. This was his debut at 56km Two Oceans. David seemed to disappear from the Ultra Scene after his performance at the 2009 City to City 50km where he again led this race from early on but was caught towards the end by Collen Makaza and the overall winner from Mr Price. That year the prize money was R250 000 at the race. Since then he has kept a low profile but seeing his form at Two Oceans one cannot discount him for a crack at Comrades this year.

Petros Sosibo (he’ll get age category whichever way) running for Bonitas Athletics Club in 2013, will run either/or but it strong enough on both up and down and good for Gold. Petros has 2 gold medals both on the down run though, but he is experienced at the Ultra Level and one of the hardest men on the running circuit. He seems to just get stronger the longer the race goes on. Petros desperately wants a gold in the up run and has done most if not all his training with Bongmusa so come race day these two will feed off each other.

Fanie Matshipa: From his super human fight with Muzhingi in 2011 he came so close to winning so he knows he has the mettle to be there. But Fanie has not had consistent results like that of Bongmusa, Ludwick and Muzhingi. It’s like watching Herschelle Gibbs ba t6 for the Prtoteas, he’s either awesome with his “A” game on the day or just terrible. So it’s a case of which Fanie Matshipa will wake up on race morning will determine his result at the end of the day. But if it is “A” Game Gibbs waking up, watch out people – he will be there giving all the contenders a hard time. Fanie has had his best results at the Up Run.

Gift Kelehe: Now here is someone to put your money on if you were a betting man. If I had to choose someone who is destined for a win this year, I would go right here. Gift is the younger brother of Legendary Andrew Kelehe, who has 11 Golds with one win. One of the greatest Comrades athletes of all time. Gift may not have the talent his brother has but has the heart, desire and the fight to take it to the others. He’s a little guy, in stature, probably only 5 foot 6 but as they say, “Dynamite comes in small packages”, and this guy will be explosive. In his first Up Run (2008) and second Comrades he ran 6H16:15, this followed the 2009 and 201 down runs, but in 2011 his second up run he smashed his PB up Run time by over 30 minutes, 5H44:00 for his first Gold Medal and in 2012 he ran a overall Comrades PB of 5H38:39. So based on this he just gets better each year and he is only 30 years old.

Other Athletes to watch carefully include

Marko Mambo: Also Zimbabwean and wanting to eclipse the likes of Muzhingi and Collen Makaza (IAU World 50km Champion) to be the leading Zimbabwean Ultra Athlete, he has a lot to run for and is a fantastic and dedicated athlete. Marko has only run 1 Comrades, which was last year Down Run, and finished in a credible 4th position. He knows what it takes to win as he is a previous Champion of Two Oceans Ultra. Although this will be his first up run, you can’t but feel he will be there as he has nothing to lose.

Prodigal Khumalo: This is just unbelievable talent. He can run pretty much any distance and is a frequent podium finisher at any race he enters. Current Sani Stagger Champion, so you know he has the strength. Having run and won at 10km, 21km, 42.2km and 50km many, many times he has the ability to win Comrades. Make no mistake he will fight his demons on the day as he has not run Gold as yet, but with his talent and ability all signs say that this could be his watershed year.

Fusi Nhlapo: Many Comrades pundits will tell you when you do something like this and Fusi is entered you simply chalk him down for a Gold Medal, and it’s just a case of filling in the exact position later. Not much more can be said about Fusi, he has 10 Golds now from 14 Starts. Let it be known from the 4 he has not got a Gold he actually did not finish the race for whatever reason. I would guess injury or some aliment on the day. He is only 40 years old and still has lots of running in him.

Craig Fry and Leonid Shvetsov Comrades 2012

Leonid Shvetsov broke the Comrades record twice, up and down at the age of 38 and 39 and came back last year at 43 and ran 5th. So Fusi can still do it and win. He has won the race on one occasion so he knows what it is like to win this race.

Let us not discount the strong super strong athletes from Lesotho and the Athletes from outside of Africa.

These are my predictions for 2013 Comrades Marathon, what are yours?

Will the 2013 Comrades Marathon title remain with South Africa?

Author: Craig Fry

  1. plustenner permalink

    am so excited now! Stephen all the way 🙂

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