Prominent marathoner Bongmusa Mthembu wins Om die Dam marathon

Prominent marathoner Bongmusa Mthembu wins Om die Dam marathon

South African long-distance sensation Bongmusa Mthembu warmed up for the Comrades Marathon by winning the Om Die Dam 50km Ultra-marathon in Hartbeespoort on Saturday.

The three-time Comrades Marathon champion stopped the clock in 2 hours, 56 minutes, and 33 seconds to bag the prize money of R25 000.

Mthembu of the Arthur Ford Running Club is starting to find his form in time for the Two Oceans 56km Ultra-marathon in Cape Town on 15 April.

Last month, Mthembu ran in the Pirates' annual 21.1km, where he is the race ambassador clocking 1:15:56 as part of his Comrades Marathon training run.

“I’m happy with the finishing time as it was part of my training for the Comrades Marathon. I wanted to prove that I could perform well outside of KwaZulu Natal.  

The route was challenging, and the weather was too hot. I enjoyed the flat course and hills here and there. The route is the same as the Two Oceans, Cape Town,” said Mthembu.

However, Mthembu said the race organizers could do better in future races by inviting star-studded elite runners.

“This Ultra-marathon is big with history, but they should attract big names to run here. 

I am open to returning here next year to run against competitive elite runners to push me to run a faster time,” he said.

On 15 April, Mthembu will shift his focus to the Two Oceans Marathon to gauge his fitness level.

“I’m planning to run the Two Oceans Marathon to get a clear picture of how far I am with my preparations for the Comrades Marathon. 

The plan is to run the final preparatory race in Cape Town before going to a training camp. 

The field in Cape Town is more competitive with international runners,” he said.

Mthembu said he was working hard to add his fourth Comrades Marathon title and bag the R300 000 prize money.

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) announced a shorter distance from 90km Down Run to 87km, with the finish moving from the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium to the Hollywood bets Kingsmead Stadium on Sunday, 11 June 2023.

And Mthembu welcomed the news and believes it gives him more chance to add another title this year.

“The Comrades returns to its traditional finish, and I am happy with the changes. 

The Moses Mabhida Stadium looked empty because the crowd could not fill it. 

The steps after finishing were killing us, and I hope to win the Comrades, is my goal for this year,” added Mthembu.

The 39-year-old will return home to KZN and attend a training camp to prepare for the Two Oceans.