Durban — In addition to being training partners, the three Nedbank runners who placed first in the Comrades Marathon on Sunday are also brothers.
Despite the fact that road running is an individual activity with a competitive element, they were clearly happy for one another.
Edward Mothibi, who won the competition in 2019, was surprisingly alright with finishing in second place and being denied the opportunity to win back-to-back championships by Tete Dijana.
Third place went to their comrade Dan Moselakwe.
“I am pleased with my outcomes. Your body can only transport you so far. I’m glad Tete made the decision to proceed since I was wrong about the last 10 miles. That he won the race makes me pleased.
Onalenna Khonkhobe, a comrade from the Nedbank Running Club, had taken the lead from the beginning and had mostly run alone, enjoying a significant advantage, until Mothibi and Dijana took over at the foot of Fields Hill.
The pair then seemed to be headed for a sprint finish, but the inexperienced down-runner abruptly broke away just before 45th Cutting and never looked back.
Mothibi revealed that they had adhered to the strategy laid forth by their reserved coach Dave Adams.
“We work together at the gym. We are familiar with one another and train together. So it was incredible to see us all together at the very end.
“We spoke while traveling, and we kept an eye out for anybody who could be after us. We had to follow the coach’s instructions about tempo.
The fact that they took home the team title, with Johannes Makgetla and Joseph Manyedi placing fifth and seventh, respectively, according to him, was no accident.
“Thanks to our fantastic instructor Dave Adams, we enjoyed a fantastic training camp. He constantly instructed me as team captain on what to say to the players, and I am grateful that they did so even if some of them are younger and others older than me.
“The coach gave us specific instructions on what we had to accomplish before the race. He just instructed us to run at the pace he specified after reminding us that we had completed the task at the camp.
This they clearly did, as the Nedbank runners took control of the race right away, with Khonkhobe in the lead and the others following close behind until Mothibi and Dijana made their move.
Given his extensive Comrades experience, many had predicted that Mothibi would win, but any discerning road runner would have remembered how Dijana had defeated him at the Nedbank Runified 50km race in Gqeberha earlier this year.
Thus, it came as little surprise when the beginner on the down-run broke away to win a renown race that even Mothibi himself praised.
The winner was at a loss for words to express the significance of his victory.
I feel fantastic. I’m still in disbelief that I took home the Comrades. After seizing the lead, I made an effort to remain cautious since anything might happen along the route. I made an effort to keep up the pace, and my confidence didn’t really start to increase until I got to the stadium. When I was entering the stadium, I liked the throng.
The triumph will undoubtedly boost him to the rank of a recognized and admired athlete, and he will no doubt start to enjoy his newfound reputation as a legend of South African ultramarathon racing.
This is a truth that Mothibi is all too familiar with, which is why he is thrilled to have his teammate, brother, and hometown hero from Mafikeng in the North West.