Words of a Comrades Winner

Exclusive Interview with All Things Jabu->a proudly South African #Sports Blog #Muzhingi Source, With thanks

Exclusive Interview with ATJ and Stephen Muzhingi <- Hot off the Press…
You can follow ATJ on Twitter also… <-  just awesome!

Posted by All Things Jabu on June 23, 2011

The three times consecutive winner of the world’s hardest marathon, the runner of the second fastest Comrades ever and the Jabu Sports Star of the Month, Stephen Muzhingi agreed to an exclusive interview with All Things Jabu. And here it is

All Things Jabu (ATJ): Hi Stephen. Congratulations on winning the toughest road race known to man for a third consecutive time!

Stephen Muzinghi (SM): Thank you!

ATJ: So lets start at the beginning. What made you want to conquer the ultra marathon?

SM: I loved running, and thought I could do well at it. After my first attempt, I think I finished in position 157 (ATJ: The comrades website has Stephen listed as 115 in 2005), it brought me back to earth. I suppose the seed had then been planted and I felt I had a point to prove not only to me, but aso for my family.  I decided that I will work really hard to win this race.

ATJ:You have just emulated Alan Robb and Bruce Fordyce by winning 3 in a row, whats your next goal with the race?

SM:  I would love to make it four in a row and become only the second person to do this (ATJ: Bruce Fordyce won 8 in a row in the 80′s). If all goes according to plan then I would have to say that I want to chase Bruce Fordyce record.

ATJ:  Do you think you could beat Bruces record of 9 wins?

SM: I have to say yes because I want this very badly! Make no mistake it will be extremely hard to do, but I will give it a good go nonetheless.

ATJ: You famously ran the second fastest time in history of 05h23 in 2009, do you think you can beat this?

SM: Yes, I know I can beat this. I was trained to run a 5H20 this year. I had to secure the win before chasing the record and this years race was very different from previous years. Fanie (ATJ: Matsipa finished second 2 minutes behind Stephen) went out early and I couldn’t let him get away. As a result we ran far to0 fast in the beginning stages. I went through half way 7 minutes faster than planned. But I’ve learnt a lot from this. I now know that I can run at a higher pace earlier in the race, so will just work on being bale to maintain that high pace for as long a period as possible. Then hopefully I will be able to break Leonid Shestov’s record (ATJ: Leonid Shestov rand a 5h20 in 2007) which is another one of my goals.

ATJ: Can you tell us about your training programs?

SM: Unfortunately I cant say to much about these! But I have a typical programme of strength, speed and endurance work. I also have secret training that I do on my own which I think gives me the edge for now. But its not easy, as I train for many hours on my own and sometimes do runs of 4 hours with no water. I always push hard and remember that saying: “No pain, no gain!”

ATJ: What about your diet?

SM:Nothing really special there. I eat sadza, chicken and meat but you cant beat sadza the Zimbabwean way. Its my power and energy booster. I also use supplements such as 32GI in training.

ATJ:If you werent a marathon runner, what would you be doing?

I would probably have a regular job like being a barber because I can cut hair and used to do this. But I think I would want to be a cameraman. I just love filming things and taking photos. My family often shout at me because I always want to film them around the house and doing things.

ATJ: Speaking of your family, I saw that they were with you at the Comrades this year, did that motivate you further?

SM: Of course. This is one of the reasons why I run. I have a responsibility to my wife and son (ATJ: Erina and Methane) to look after them as well as I can. I spend a lot of time away from them so I must win so that it is worth the time spent away from them.

ATJ: Would you advise Methane to take up ultra marathon running?

SM:  He must. He is a Muzinghi and its in our genes. It would be great to see his name on the Comrades winners board too. That being said I will encourage him to do what he desires, because if he doesnt like running then he wont enjoy it and wont excel. He will, in time, make up his mind and I will support him in whatever he wants to do.

ATJ:As you are aware, All Things Jabu is a blog about all sport, so what other sport are you a fan of?

SM: I love soccer and since being in South Africa a lot, I have also started watching cricket and rugby.

ATJ: Favourite teams?

SM: In rugby its the Sharks and in cricket the Dolphins (ATJ: He does train in Kwazulu natal). I have to say that in soccer I support Pirates (ATJ: Nooooooooooooo!) in South Africa, much to the disappointment of my agent, Craig Fry, as he is as Kaizer Chiefs man (ATJ: Good man!). We often have a go at each other about this, but all in good humour.

ATJ: Okay Stephen, please put on your Paul and the Octopus hat and tell us which team you think will win the World Cup?

SM: Ahh, I must say I support the Amabokoboko (I think thats how you say it) the Springboks, as they are my home from home. Go John Smit and the boys. Do it again!!!

ATJ: Thank you for your time Stephen! Good luck for your future races!

SM: Thank you too! It is always a pleasure! I’d also like to share a word of thanks to everyone that has supported me. Since winning the 3rd time, I have been completely overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of support I have received. I never in my wildest dreams would have expected this. Thank you, thank you to Everyone. Special thanks to Cliff (my coach), Craig (my Manager) and Donnette (ATJ: You can follow her on twitter) (helping with all my social media things Face Book, Blogs, Videos, Twitter. I am learning a lot from this) Lastly thanks to my sponsors, Nike, 32GI. You are all awesome and important in my life.

Last but not least, to my family Erina & Methane I love you and thank you for giving so much to me whilst I follow my dream!

To read more info on Stephen you can go to any of the following links:




I would also like to congratulate Stephen on being invited to run the New York Marathon! Congrats from All Things Jabu!

This interview has been shared with the other site I write for. Run Ride Dive


You can follow ATJ on Twitter also… <-  just awesome!


June 23, 2011 Posted by | Comrades, Comrades Marthon, Media, Stephen Muzhingi | , , , | Leave a comment

Everything is Happening!!!!

This may sound a little far fetched but this is in fact what has happened in thelast 6 weeks.

My passport expired in December 2010, so I had to get a new one, and with getting a new passport, when I went to South Africa to finish my training I only got a 3 month visa. So this expired on 1 May 2011, so I would have to leave the country and then re-enter. We drove from Durban to Swaziland to cross the boarder, and then discovered my visa had in fact expired, so had to pay a fine of R1000.00. I have to say the officials didn’t give any lea way or care that I was the defending Champion. I do give them credit, they were only doing their job.

They gave me 31 days on this visa. So my Visa would expire on the Tuesday 31 May. Tuesday came and I had to leave the South Africa or pay another fine, and I didn’t want a black mark on my name as it may hamper visa applications down the line.

So unfortunately I had to leave SA in a bit of a hurry. I arrived at home and things were great. Had a reception which was put on by Bakers Inn. My coach and manager wanted me back in SA for sponsors etc. My family was reluctant to let me go, but I had no choice, as this is my career, my job. So I made the trip back to SA for the awards ceremony for my club, as well as to get my new sponsored car from Barrons VW. (Nice car indeed)

Coach and I then had to drive back to Zimbabwe with my new car, name on the side and all the nice things. He had to drive with me as it is as long way and I haven’t driven on my own for such a distance. Once back in Zimbabwe, we stopped at a cross roads.

Attempted hi – Jacking

Coach was looking in one direction and out of no where two guys rush up to the car and start trying to open the door, which was locked, and then started banging on the window. I just shouted “Coach my car, my car, drive, go go go go go go.” He then seriously drove, and for the next 30 minutes we were in a bit of a state of shock. I hear of car jacking in SA, but not really in Zimbabwe. The way these guys were knocking on the window, I knew they weren’t just trying to greet me, THET WANTED MY CAR!, Sorry for them, they were unsuccessful. A South African friend said to me once – “Africa is no place for sissies (the weak).” Its sad to think that people out there would rather just take from another persons hard work!

Coach then returned to SA, and I have been resting and spending time with my Family and friends.

The Zim Government have promised me a diplomatic passport and cash incentives for winning, so lets see what transpires from this. It would be great to be recognised in this way by my Country.

In case you didn’t know as yet, I received an Invite to New York Marathon in November. Running this and hopefully doing a PB of sub 2H10 will just cap off a great year for me, and will go down as the greatest year of my life.

My first race outside of Africa will be in September where I will be running in Switzerland. That’s going to be great too. Will let you know how we get on there.

So a lot has happened since beginning May 2011, and it keeps coming! Who knows what tomorrow brings??????

Until next time

Stephen Muzhingi

3 Time Comrades Winner (I like to say that 🙂 )

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Athletics, Comrades, Comrades Marthon, Exercise, Fitness, Marathon Running, Running, Stephen Muzhingi, Two Oceans Marathon, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

New York Marathon – WooHoo

Hi, Just an update, i received the second best news of my running a couple of days ago. I have been invited as an Elite Athlete to participate in the New York Marathon in November this year.

Wow, this is like a dream come true. I have never had the speed to qualify for this status, but since winning 3 Comrades I have neen included.

All I can say is thank you to NYRR for the invitation, and to Craig for making this happen for me.

I do have a Sub 2H20 marathon time, but have never really raced a martahon properly, so this will be a true test for me. Nevertheless my aim is to run a 2H10 or sub at NY, which I know I can do.

Thank you and please continue to support me on this new quest.



June 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Comrades Build Up

My build up and preparation towards Comrades 2011 began in November 2010, where I ran the Township to Township 50km race in Durban. I then went back home to Zimbabwe for a few months to be with my family, as well as to do my “Zimbabwe training,” which I do every year. I pretty much follow a training programme based on Mileage for stamina, Strength training and then lastly speed work.
Although Comrades is run every year, the Up and Down runs are completely different and I do very different training dependant on which direction the race is going. The Up run is all about strength and stamina, so I have done a lot of strength training and included the speed endurance side of things. It has been a hard 6 months of total dedication where all I do is concentrate on running and have little time for anything else. My family plays a big part in my preparation for Comrades as I am not able to spend quality time with them during the preparation months and for this I am eternally grateful.

My Coach (Cliff Chinnasamy) and Manger (Craig Fry) have equally important roles in my life. The Coach from keeping me on track and making sure that I develop and peak at the right time, and not to soon and not to late. The timing has to be just right. My manager takes care of all my business such as making sure I have the right shoes and kit from my sponsor, Nike and that I have the correct supplements to keep my body from breaking down from the stresses and strains of training. He also makes sure that I am able to have an income so there is little for me to worry about.

Winning in 2010 was a lot harder than winning in 2009, despite the fact the Leonid Shvetsov was not running. The mere fact that I was the defending Champion so the expectation from most was that I would win again. There was a lot of media exposure which I wasn’t used to at that time, and on race day many of the top athletes were watching my every move. But as they say, thats all History as I overcame all the pressures and know what to expect this year. I do however think that the competition will be very stiff this year, as everyone wants to win the “Ultimate Human Race” and all the top guys have trained harder than ever.
Initially I was concerned with the contenders from East Africa, (Kenya & Ethiopia), but seeing what happened at Two Oceans last weekend I don’t think these athletes will be a big threat. Make no mistake, athletes that come from these countries are of the best in the world, but that is over the Marathon and shorter distance races. Comrades is more than Two Marathons in one race. I would say the biggest threat will come from the Russians, and from the local guys, such as Bongmusa Mthembu, Claude Moshiywa, Petros Sosibo, Prodigal Khumalo. One can never write off an athlete like Fusi Nhlapo – the man has had 9 starts at Comrades and has achieved 1 win and 8 top ten places. So the competition will be steep but on the day the best prepared athlete will win, and I hope to be that athlete.
I have not finalised the race plan as yet, but will do so now that Two Oceans is out the way. I now have a good idea as to where I am since Two Oceans, and we can now get the strategy finalised. I watch previous Comrades Races at least twice a week, which helps with my mental preparations as well as studying other athletes so on race day I am mentally 110% ready and from simple body movements of the other athletes I know how they are feeling and what they are going to do, so can counter what they do during the race.

Two Oceans last weekend was very good for me, as I ran a personal best time by two minutes. I had a time of 3H08 – 3H09 in my mind and I knew if I ran that time I should be in the top 5 places at the end. Although I finished really strong I did hold myself back a bit as I didn’t want to hurt myself for Comrades. But since the race I feel like I haven’t even run a 56km race a few days ago, so I am really happy with how I feel at the moment. After all from the Comrades runners that took part at Oceans, I was the first home, as well as in 2009 and 2010 so maybe a good omen.

Since signing up for twitter and face book and have my own blog, I have been completely overwhelmed by the support I have received from the public. The amount of wishes and messages I received after Oceans has really made me feel pretty special, and to receive this type of support fires me up to want to win Comrades, not only for me, but to give something back to all the people that support me and have shown their faith in me. One thing about me is that I love top make people smile and be happy, so if I win again, then I know that I will bring smile to many faces. So to everyone that has supported me I will give 200% this year that I can assure you.

On Comrades day you can follow live updates from my Face Book and Twitter sites and this I have arranged for my followers and friends. I am doing this so my friends can get exactly what is happening as it happens, so hopefully you will see another part of what goes on during the race.
A huge thank you to all my sponsors, Nike, 32GI, Rudy Project eyewear, Future Life, Bluff Meats for their support and most of all to my followers and supporters, thank you.
What I really want if I win Comrades this year is a new Double Cab vehicle! Lets see!
All the best

Stephen Muzhingi

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Athletics, Comrades, Comrades Marthon, Exercise, Fitness, Marathon Running, Running, Stephen Muzhingi, Two Oceans Marathon, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

A Good Race

I have been running for some years now, and the 2009 South Coast Marathon is one race that stands out in my memory. There are many but this one came to mind.
I had won my first Comrades Marathon that year and had taken a couple of months off to recover. If I remember correctly the race was in October and I really wasn’t in any great shape, ad I had done little or no running since Comrades. But as I was still in Durban with the team, the Coach wanted us to attend this race as start of my preparations for 2010 Comrades.
The race started in Scottbrough, South Coast Kwazulu Natal, and goes up the coast towards Durban, finishing in Amamzimtoti. Its not the easiest course to run as all the way up the coast is rolling undulating hills, but as you pretty much run along the coast line it has great scenery.
I started this race not expecting much, but I did want to have a good showing as this was the first race with my new sponsor Nike. As I was Comrades Champion the guys in the front of the race were putting on the surges early and I have to admit I was struggling to keep up. At the 15km point I had dropped off the lead pack and was about 2 minutes behind. The thought did cross my mind to just pull out.
I came past my coach at about 17km and I saw his face, and he was not impressed with what was going on. As I came past to collect an energy drink, he said to me “Muzhingi are you running the mens race or the women’s race, because the women are going to beat you, move your A…..”
This made me angry and I then put aside all the negative thoughts and just put the hammer down, and it was like something just switched on inside me. I thought I would win this race or die trying. I started to catch the guys and within the next 8km I was with the front pack again, and then just carried on pushing to get away. I was surprised that the guys didn’t come with me. But then I was in front and I made use of the lead car to pace me, as it always stays slightly ahead of you, so I didn’t have to concentrate on the pace making. So much for pacing is not allowed, but lets be honest the officials of the race actually do it for you anyway, with the lead vehicle.
I did finish in first place in a time of 2H25 (I think) so it wasn’t very fast, but a win is a win. I now sometimes think back on this race when I am running other races as it helps me know that even if I am feeling tired, if I just hang in there and push through it, I can still run at my best and get a good result, as this is what I did here.
Nike were happy with the win as it was my first race in their shoes so it also justified their signing me, and winning Comrades wasn’t just a one off thing! Coach was happy and so was my Agent, as this was also my first race with him so I had to get a good result.
All worked out just great!

April 12, 2011 Posted by | Athletics, Comrades, Comrades Marthon, Exercise, Fitness, Marathon Running, Running, Stephen Muzhingi, Two Oceans Marathon, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mental Preparation for Racing – Mind vs Legs

As we are now less than 60 days to Comrades 2011, and 22 days to Two Oceans, I will now begin my tapering programme in order to be at peak fitness and strength for the 24 April.
As in any sport these days mental fitness and strength is a key to your performance on race day. So as I enter the tapering programme where there is no heavy long runs or speed work training on the road, I find this the ideal time to get my mental strength in line. There are numerous ways to do this, I could go see a sports psychologist, (head doctor), but I choose to do this on my own.
How do I do this? I have sat with my coach and we have decided pretty much on the game plan and how I will run the race (talking Two Oceans here), things like what times I need to run to certain points, and when to increase the pace or just stay as is. What I like to do is watch DVD footage of my previous races, especially parts of a race where I felt a little off or weak, and I try and remember what I was thinking at the time that got me through the rough patches. I take this and use it as my motivator, and tell myself things like “I will not have to work hard mentally as I won’t put myself in that position again as I am better prepared.” I also look at what I did the previous year. In my case I was 4th at Oceans, and I know I had a good race there, I was just beaten by 3 guys that were on top form that day. So I play the race over and over in my mind and there is always a part of a race that you would run differently, and I use this as to correct my mistake from the previous year.

The key for me is to visualise myself running the entire race and play out all the possible scenarios, such as surges from other competitors, the hills up and down, and the key parts of the race. I do this often so that come race day I am mentally strong as I have run the race 15 times in 3 weeks in my head.

During the race, when I am feeling tired or hurting, my mental strength comes into play, as when I was visualising the race I didn’t feel like hurting or being tired so it almost becomes a non entity for me, as I also know that my preparations have been so good that I will recover as long as I keep moving at my pace I will come out of it.

It is a battle between the mind and the legs. The mind saying run, and the legs say walk. So at the time you think well if I walk a bit I will be able to recover and run again and will make up the time that I walked. So you have a little breather and walk. It takes a strong mind to tell your legs to pick up the pace after a walk and keep it constant again. Yes I have had these battles between my mind and legs – Often – but in my case my legs loose out and just have to keep going!

Prepare physically and mentally for all your races, and on race day make sure your mind wins the battle over the legs. Then you wont say at the end of the race – I could have run faster. If my mind wins then I win!



March 29, 2011 Posted by | Athletics, Comrades, Comrades Marthon, Exercise, Fitness, Marathon Running, Running, Stephen Muzhingi, Two Oceans Marathon, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

How I beat Leonid Shvetsov – Part 2

Collen Makaza, my team mate had the role of running out for the Hot Spots, as he was relatively unknown to many and especially Leonid. He was to run and stretch the field as much as possible, thus taking with him all the TV crews and media, cause one always runs a bit better when you are aware you are on TV. Makaza ran a fantastic part, and got to half way in 2H34 which was a new half way record. Me on the other hand, I was sticking with the Shvestov bus, and was always at the back of this group, or to the side.
I saw Cliff at Lion park, (+-20km) into the race and I told him I feel great, and he said just stick there, and don’t do anything. So I did as I was told. I don’t think anyone of the guys really took notice of me as I wasn’t running in the front of the bus or pulling it along, I think most guys there thought I was just hanging on and it was a matter of time before I dropped off. Going through Camperdown the pace was good and not many were willing to make any moves. Cato Ridge, and still we were going as bus, but had lost a few members. The hill out of Cato Ridge up to Harrison Flats was where you could see who was strong and in it for the long haul. I still kept my eye on Leonid. By this stage news got back to us about the front runners and Charles Tjiane, who is a very good runner, was out there near the leaders. But I wasn’t worried as I knew if I stuck with Leonid we will fight later down the road.
At half way Coach told me to keep the pace and not get involved in any silly surges etc. We had trained for a finishing time and we were on course for that. So all was looking good, and I started to feel more confident about the final result.
I have never felt so good after half way, it was as though I had only run 10km, so was keen to put some pace on. Leonid started to speed up and I wanted to go with him, and go past him and take the fight to him. But I stayed back, trusting the game plan. Leonid had split away and was down the road with a sizeable gap. I think he got worried about Makaza, and Tjiane, that he picked up the pace to early.
I saw coach a few kilometres later, and he could see I wanted to go, and he said “Muzhingi stay!” I thought, whats this guy thinking, I can go and catch Leonid now. But again I just kept to the plan.
Once I was allowed to pick up the pace I did so gradually, and reeled in guys in front of me with ease, and as you go past someone you kind of feel you have a bit more energy, funny that. Coach then told me to go, and it was like a weight was lifted from me, and I went , this was it, make or break time.
I could see the press trucks ahead and as I got closer I could see Leonid on the right side of the road and I was on the left. I could see that I was moving a lot more freely than he was. I knew that I was going to catch him quickly, and I knew that as I was going so fast that he would not be able to respond right away, so I had to go past him at full pace and put a huge gap between us. I went passed him on his left side and I felt him glance at me, but I was so focused that I didn’t even think anything of it. I knew then that the race was mine.

As I went through toll gate, coming into Durban, I did feel a little anxious, as I know what a strong finisher Leonid is, and I was expecting him to come back at some stage, but I would deal with that if it came up. It was odd, I remember thinking, I am leading the Comrades with only 8km to go, could this be real! As I got to the long flat road leading passed Workshop, the crowds were very load, and I was thinking that if Leonid was coming up behind me, I wouldn’t hear him or hear the motorbikes over the noise. So I turned around a couple of times to check, but No Leonid.
I put on all the pace I had left in me, and as I entered the Stadium I got the batton with the mayors message and a rose. As I came onto the Grass of the stadium, I almost turned left instead of right. I turned the last corner and could see the finish tape, and the photographers and officials behind it. This is the first time I could hear the Stadium Crowd cheering. For the next 45 minutes I forgot about how sore my legs were, the adrenalin rush was out of this world. I wanted to cry out of pure joy, satisfaction, and feeling so proud. I had one it. A dream come true!
One cannot describe the feeling you have but what I can say, its like winning the lotto but ten times better!
I must pay tribute to Leonid Shvetsov as he is a remarkable athlete, and I hope to see him one day to tell him that. I never really got the chance after the race. A huge thank you to my sponsors for their support, and to my coach for having the faith and patience to get me to achieve winning the greatest foot race in the World!

March 17, 2011 Posted by | Comrades, Comrades Marthon, Exercise, Fitness, Marathon Running, Running, Stephen Muzhingi, Two Oceans Marathon, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introduction to Stephen Muzhingi

Hi All

I am Stephen Muzhingi, the current two times Champion of the Comrades Marathon, The worlds Greatest Ultra Marathon averaging 89km each year. The Comrades is run between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, in South Africa, and alternates each year, one year starting in Durban and finishing in Pietermaritzburg, and the next year the other way around.

I am born and bred in Zimbabwe, and live there with my wife and 2 year old son, as well as spend 6 months a year in Durban where I prepare for Comrades with my Coach.

In signing up for this Blog, I hope to be able to share with the general public, a piece of me, and who I am and what it takes to do what I do. From the hardships growing up in poverty, and what I have had to do to get to the top of the Runing World, to the highs, of winning races, and what this has done to my life to the lows of bailing from races that I should have won.

The sacrifices that a professional athlete has to make and how this effects my life and that of my family, not only of my wife but my extended family, all of whom play a huge part of my life, and because of their continued support of me and my running, allows me to become a Champion. Without this support system I would be nothing, just an average “joe” Sunday runner. But I have been fortunate to have an awesome support system and thank my family every day for what they give up to help me do what I do.

I hope you will enjoy what I will have to say over the next few months and years, and I look forward to sharing me with you, and hopefully we can all achieve waht we set our minds to, and together we will all be winners.

I may even let you all into some of my secret training tips, and locations? But all in good time.

All the best

Stephen Muzhingi

February 20, 2011 Posted by | Comrades, Comrades Marthon, Marathon Running, Running, Stephen Muzhingi, Two Oceans Marathon | , , | 7 Comments


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