Elite Athlete Development Programme Media Release
Sensational Mthembu breaks SA
100km record in stunning World Champs silver charge
Durban – In what could be seen as the highlight of ultra-distance
running in South Africa for 2016, the Elite Athlete Development
Programme’s Bongmusa Mthembu along with fellow South Africans
Gift Khelele, David Gatebe and Rufus Photo were the strongest
overall team at the recent IAU 100km World Championships in Spain
Mthembu, who won the Comrades Marathon in 2014, was the strongest
of the South African runners when he finished in a stellar second
place overall behind Japan’s Hideaki Yamauchi, breaking the South
African 100km record set by legend Bruce Fordyce in 1999 in the
Mthembu has been in good form throughout 2016, collecting a third
place finish at the Comrades Marathon along the way. The 33
year-old knew that 100km was going to be a completely different
challenge though but was surprised by his performance.
“It was the first time I had ever ran that distance so I really
didn’t know what to expect from the race,” Mthembu said on his
return to South Africa.
“To be able to come second was incredible, but I think that the
most important thing was that we were able to win the overall
“We worked well together and although we had some problems, I
knew that the team was going to be strong and it’s an amazing
time for ultra-distance running.
“It just shows everyone that the new era in South African running
is upon us.”
For Mthembu, the pressure of taking on an unknown distance was
made easier by having a strong team of runners around him as he
went beyond the 87km distance of the familiar Comrades Marathon
while was also confident he was going to be strong enough when he
pushed into the unknown.
“The extra 10km did make a big difference, but I knew that I had
trained enough to deal with it even though it was foreign to me.
“The training wasn’t too different to that of our Comrades
training but I learnt a huge amount about my ability and I hope
that I will get the chance to run the race again in 2017 to see
if I can push for a gold medal,” Mthembu mentioned excitedly.
Mthembu was only the second South African to finish on the podium
after Cornet Mathomane finished third in 1993. Despite his
achievement on the international stage, the Bulwer resident’s
focus remains on the 2017 Comrades Marathon ‘up run’ from Durban
“With a win and then a good performance in the down run this year
I am really looking forward to the Comrades Marathon next year.
“I have got the desire to win back the title and I think that I
have the confidence, so if I can stay fit and healthy then I
think that I will have a good chance to win the Comrades again!”
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Following a solid
third at the Comrades Marathon this year, Elite Athlete
Development Programme star Bongmusa Mthembu finished second in
the IAU 100km World Championships in Spain recently, where he
also broke the South African 100km record held by Bruce Fordyce.
Jetline Action Photo/
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