muzhingi5h23

Words of a Comrades Winner

Belief

Growing up in Zimbabwe was tough, (but we will cover that in a later note), I ran because my grandfather, Magwaza,  was a Champion Marathon Runner in his day, so I suppose running was in the genes, as well as transport to and from school was not possible, so we ran,  which was +-20km a day. As time went on, running 20km a day became easy, as it was the norm to do this trip. I didn’t think of it then but I suppose this laid the foundation for me to be a Marathon Runner

I ran my first Marathon when I was 16 years old and finished the race but can’t remember the exact finishing time but it wasn’t fast, I was still very young. It was then that I thought I have a talent for this running thing, but didn’t really take it too seriously but the seed had been planted.

I went to South Africa in May 2004 where I met up with my current Coach, Cliff Chinnasamy, and asked him if he would train me, to which he agreed. I was not particularly fast, with PB marathon time of 2H48. I was a little overweight at the time, and my nickname with the Zimbabwean athletes was, (translated from Shona), “Fat Rat.” But that didn’t bother me, as I had a goal in mind, and that was to win the Comrades Marathon one day.  

In 2005 I entered the City to City Marathon, which is a 50km race between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and I thought I was ready for this and I could win it. The race started and I ran comfortably and thought that the front guys were going to fast and would tire out and I would catch them.  At the 25km point I was so far off the pace, and the front runners were not slowing down. I was struggling and could not see me making another 25km. Cliff pulled me off the road and out the race. I climbed into the car and felt terrible that we had travelled so far and I was now disappointing so many people, as I wasn’t even able to finish the race, let alone win it. I bailed!!!!!

Driving back to Durban for 6 hours with the Coach was going to be tough! Yes he was angry with my performance, but more so disappointed for me. He did say to me that we would revisit the training and make changes and that I would win Comrades Marathon within the next 4 years, but I must be patient and disciplined to get the desired result. This man was going to make such a huge commitment to me, after I bailed at 25km, he must be crazy, but I had nothing to loose and everything to gain. So I agreed to do what he wanted and how he wanted the training to be done.

So for now we seem to be on the right track!

Stephen

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