muzhingi5h23

Words of a Comrades Winner

No Place for Foreigners

No Place for Foreigners!!!!

I ran for Harmony club in South Africa for a brief time, as my Coach was involved with Harmony, before starting Formula 1 AC.

The club was pretty good in that they provided a club house where we stayed, so accommodation was there. It wasn’t like staying at the Hilton, but I had a roof over my head and had a place to cook food. I didn’t mind this as I wasn’t anything spectacular, but I could run a bit.  There was a mixture of Athletes staying there, South African guys and a few of us from Zimbabwe, so it wasn’t always plain sailing. The local guys didn’t always want us around, but what could we do, we just wanted to train and run.

Cliff advised me that he was leaving Harmony and that we would have to look for another club to run for or he would open up his own club. So when this happened it was pretty hard to stay at the Harmony Club house, although I was still running for them. We had an incident the one day where I arrived back at the club house and there was a group of local (South African) athletes and they said that us Zimbabwean guys must leave “their” club house immediately as we were taking up space where other South African athletes could be making use of this.  When I told the guys that I and my friends had every right to be there they got angry and threatened us. The one guy pulled out a gun and pointed this at me and said that if we didn’t take our things and leave immediately then he would shoot us.  Who was I to argue with this, and didn’t want to take the chance, so we packed up and left.

With no place to go, I went to Cliff`s house. When in doubt go to the coach!!!! I knew there wasn’t space at Cliff’s house as he had a family, but went there anyway, as I knew he would make a plan. So we had to make the best out of a bad situation and Cliff duly hooked us up in his garage, with mattresses and blankets so at least we could sleep in relative comfort.

A few days later, the guys that were with me decided that we needed to get an income and they wanted to approach one of the clubs in Durban. So we duly went to this club to see if there was a possibility of getting a contract. I wasn’t looking for a retainer, I just wanted to run for a club where they offered incentives for wining races and then I would prove myself and they would have to offer me a retainer.  We were not allowed into the premises and a message was sent down from the manager that there was no place in his club for foreigners, especially Zimbabwean runners. (The funny thing is, they phoned me in November 2010, and asked me if I would run for them and offered me a large sum of money. The money would be good, but based on their previous comments I duly turned them down.)

What makes me angry is that I wasn’t good enough to run for them then as I was a foreigner, but since I have won 2 Comrades Marathons in a row, I’m good enough now! Lets see, oh,,, I am still a Zimbabwean, so what’s changed!

All the negative happenings just made me more determined to succeed. I like to say that when things are going badly for you, it has to get to the absolute worst case before it gets better. But when it gets better it will be great, you just have to hang in there during the bad times.

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February 28, 2011 - Posted by | Comrades, Comrades Marthon, Exercise, Fitness, Marathon Running, Running, Stephen Muzhingi, Two Oceans Marathon, Uncategorized

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