Comrades Marathon champion Tete Dijana not under pressure to defend title

Comrades Marathon champion Tete Dijana not under pressure to defend title

Reigning Comrades Marathon champion Tete Dijana does not want to put himself under undue pressure to defend the title.

The race, which takes place on 11 June from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, is in its 96th year and the 48th down-run.  The 35-year-old, who won last year’s race in 5 hours, 30 minutes, and 36 seconds, is in a training camp in Dullstroom, Mpumalanga. And despite setting a new SA 50km record of 2:39:04 earlier this year, he is more concerned about running a good team race with his Nedbank Running Club than winning the race.

"They'll have a lot of work to do because I'm not alone, I'm with the guys, alone I won't make it. That will make my job less, hence I don't have any pressure, and when the time is right I'll know what to do, when and how. I will have a very sensitive race", he told SABC Sport.

Dijana joined the Nedbank Running Club late last year and had one training camp with new teammates. He exceeded all expectations winning his maiden Comrades Marathon. But he is a contender to win the race this year.

"Last year I was going for the top 10, and winning Comrades was just a bonus. For now, I'm confident knowing that I'm that candidate. I know what to expect [from the race], what challenges I will face. Last year, the camp was a sensitive one, unlike this year. Last year we were facing more injuries because the muscles were not used to the training that we were doing compared to this one. Now, I'm more positive and injury free."