REIGNING COMRADES CHAMP IN HOPE CHALLENGE

He only completed two Comrades Marathons but has a gold medal to show for each of them, including a win to boot. Reigning Comrades Marathon Champ, Edward Mothibi says running the Comrades Marathon was a childhood dream come true but winning The Ultimate Human Race was an absolute game-changer.

36year old Mothibi, says 2019 was a year that really saw his hopes and dreams coming true which was also the year that saw the last hosting of the traditional Comrades Marathon before Covid-19 affected the entire running and sporting landscape.

However, nothing deters the passionate runner, winner, husband, father and Nedbank Running Club member from enjoying a good run, whether its competitively or recreationally.

Having participated in last year’s inaugural Race the Comrades Legends virtual event, Mothibi says running this year’s Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge was an absolute given.

“I could not miss this opportunity to be part of the vibe and joy of the Comrades Marathon. We are all missing the real Comrades so much but it is what it is. We must still embrace the opportunities to stay fit and healthy and keep the Comrades spirit alive,” said Mothibi.

“Nothing comes close to the camaraderie of running with the world’s best athletes on Comrades race day. There is no race like the Comrades Marathon and for now, the closest we were going to get to that, was through our participation in the Comrades virtual event, the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge.”

Mothibi says being chosen to participate in the 1921 Comrades Tribute Run on 24 May was such a highlight of his year and of his running career; to run a symbolic race alongside the Comrades legends, and to be part of history in the making.

“Little did I know that winning the Comrades Marathon would put me in a league of its own; sharing the stage with all the Comrades greats that I admired growing up. It’s fitting that the Comrades Marathon Association made the theme for this virtual event all about hope. The hopes we have as athletes, as family men, as a nation, is not very different from each other. I think the important thing is that we keep our hopes alive and keep doing things that turn our hopes into reality.”

Mothibi, who is a Clerk at the Impala Platinum Mine, says, “My hope is for everyone to be healthy and vital; and also for people to find their joy and passion in life.”

Mothibi owes a lot of his success to the never-ending support of his family, especially his wife Esther and their three daughters. He said, “My oldest daughter seems to be taking after me. Her name is Phemelo Mothibi, she is 11 years old and loves playing soccer and also running like her Dad. I am happy that I can rub off on my children and inspire people to hope more and achieve their dreams.”

“I keep my running dreams alive every day by training on a daily basis. I do take a rest from time to time, maintain good nutrition and focus on all the important things in life but I consistently put in a healthy dose of running that keeps me at the top of my game.”

Mothibi ran his 10km Centenary Hope Challenge run in Protea Park, Rustenburg where many people also ran the route for the virtual challenge. He enjoyed a casual run at a good leisurely pace and made it a social experience, ensuring that he and those running with him were adhering to social distancing norms and respecting the rules.

“We must all run with hope in our hearts, just like the campaign theme, Ithemba or Hope is… My hope is that we are going to get back to normal soon and live out our dreams. Let us stay positive about our future and build our country into a strong and united one.”