2019 TOP CONTENDER PROFILES

The CMA has announced a strong contention of both South African and International athletes in the 94th edition of The Ultimate Human Race.

With more than R4-million in prize money, Sunday, 9 June 2019 will show us who truly rules the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal.

Men:

Bongmusa Mthembu

Mthembu will undoubtedly be the main man to watch at the 2019 Comrades Marathon after his fabulous win at Two Oceans in April. His flawless victory en-route to Durban last year saw him become the first South African athlete since the legendary Bruce Fordyce (1988) to win back-to-back races. The 34-year-old won a bronze medal at the IAU 100km World Championships staged in Croatia last October. In addition to his three victories, Mthembu has another four gold medals to his name and will be on the hunt to become the first athlete since Stephen Muzhingi to win the race three times in a row.

Nao Kazami

Japanese ultra-runner, Nao Kazami holds the World 100km record of 6:09:14 which he achieved last year and will run his first Comrades Marathon this year. Kazami knew nothing about the Comrades Marathon until he met the South African contingent at the IAU 100km World Championships. Kazami is hoping to finish in 6th position as the prize money will cover his travel costs.

Gift Kelehe

The 38-year-old is eager to return to the winner’s circle after romping to victory in the 2015 edition. Kelehe fancies the Up Run and will be looking to add to his haul of six gold medals. The hills of Dullstroom will provide a stern test for Kelehe as he prepares for another crack at the title along with champion coach, John Hamlett.

David Gatebe

2016 Comrades Marathon Down Run Winner and record-holder David Gatebe managed to sneak into the top ten last year with an eighth-place finish at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. He will have fresh memories of his last Up Run which did not go to plan, claiming a silver medal in a time of 6:12. The record-breaking achievements from 2016 catapulted his career and he knows a win in 2019 will further cement his status as a Comrades great.

Steven Way

The British athlete reached the podium last year, coming home third behind Joseph Mphuthi for his second gold medal. Way is a seasoned ultramarathoner with victories at the World 50km Championships and the Stockholm 100km under his belt. His Up Run PB is 5:49 and he will have to shave a fair amount off that time to get into genuine contention. He is a massive fan of the Comrades and will arrive in South Africa with his game face on. 

Hatiwande Nyamande

With 2 Gold and a Silver in the 2017, 2015 and 2013 races respectively, the 40-year old Zimbabwean is aiming to do better in this year’s Comrades after not finishing last year’s race. Having claimed 3rd position in 2015 and 2nd place in 2017, Nyamande is one to watch.

Teboho Sello

Since winning his first gold medal back in 2015, Sello has established himself as a genuine top ten contender. He won back-to-back golds in 2017 and 2018 and if all goes his way on the day, he could be a possible contender for a lofty podium finish. He came second at the Lesotho High Altitude race last December. He did so in a blistering time of 2:30, suggesting he will be well prepared to go the distance at the 2019 Comrades.

Joseph Mphuthi

The 41-year-old stunned the field to finish as runner-up last year. It was Mphuthi’s third gold medal and his best performance yet at the race. Mphuthi may be nearing the end of his running career but he will certainly savour an onslaught on the podium once again. He won the Sasol Marathon in February in a brisk time of 2:27’. Expect him to be right up there, pushing for honours.

Ludwick Mamabolo

The 2019 edition will mark seven years since Ludwick Mamabolo claimed his only Comrades victory in the 2012 Down Run. He has collected another four gold medals since, taking his total tally to seven. Mamabolo finished fourth in the 2017 Up Run and the man from Limpopo will be desperate to add an Up Run title to his name.

Marko Mambo

Mambo has bags of ultra-running experience and will be 47 by the time he lines up at the 2019 Comrades Marathon. He showed last year that he remains a fierce competitor with a fifth-place finish in a time of 5:37. His only finish in the Up Run came in 2017 when he came home in 11th. As his career starts to wind down, he will be eager to add an Up Run gold to his pair of Down Run golds.

Mike Fokoroni

Since making his race debut back in 2015, Fokoroni has struggled for consistency, notching up two gold medals from seven starts. He has proven though that he can make the top ten going up to Pietermaritzburg and down to Durban. Fokoroni can be unpredictable but if it all clicks on the day, he will be among the top runners.

Gordon Lesetedi

Lesetedi broke into the top ten for the first time in his fifth attempt last year, finishing sixth in a time of 5:39. Coached by the experienced John Hamlett, Lesetedi enjoyed a tough training camp in the mountains of Dullstroom. The Safety and Security Officer at Entsika is now 35 and will be hoping his maiden gold last year will serve to ignite his career.

Edward Mothibi

Mothibi claimed an incredible fourth place on debut last year in a time of 5:36. As an unknown quantity over the ultra-distance he surprised many en-route to Durban. His aim now is to add back-to-back gold medals to his name. He was the first South African home in 6th spot at the Soweto Marathon in November last year and with a strong group of runners around him from the Nedbank Running Club, expect Mothibi to be in the thick of things again this year.

 

Women:

Ann Ashworth 

Ashworth shocked the field to win the 2018 race with a tactical and composed performance. She subsequently left her career as an advocate to run full time ahead of the 2019 race. Ashworth is in good form and achieved a marathon PB of 2:35 at the Valencia Marathon in December.  A genuine contender to become the first female to win back-to-back races since Elena Nurgalieva.

Gerda Steyn 

The 28-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise from amateur to professional in the space of just five years. After finishing as runner-up last year, Steyn took a six-week break from the sport before preparing to tackle the New York Marathon, finishing 13th in a PB of 2:31. The 2018 and 2019 Two Oceans winner has made it clear, her goal this year is to claim a maiden Comrades Marathon title.

Camille Herron 

Herron was left gutted just weeks before last year’s race as injury robbed her of a chance to claim back-to-back victories. It has been two years since her big win but the raging crowds and electric atmosphere which greeted her at the finish at Scottsville Racecourse will serve as a huge motivating factor as she prepares for a comeback. Last December she set a new 100-mile record at the Desert Solstice Track Invitational. As the reigning Up Run champion the 37-year-old is a genuine title contender. 

Charne Bosman

The 2016 Down Run winner has proved to be one of South Africa’s most consistent athletes in recent years. She has five gold medals from six starts at Comrades. She is now 43 but there are no signs of her powers waning. She won the Johnson Crane Hire Marathon in January and the Om Die Dam Marathon in March. Bosman is in red hot form and is a genuine contender to win the race.

Devon Yanko

American, Devon Yanko’s Comrades journey began back in 2012 when she came fifth on debut. She then took a four-year break from the race but returned over the last two years to earn another two gold medals. Three starts and three top ten finishes. She won the Oaklands Marathon in a time of 2:43 in March. An accomplished runner who knows what it takes push for a win.

Danette Smith

A newcomer to the sport of ultra-running, Smith claimed a gold medal on debut in 2017. She could not back that top ten-finish up last year but will return in 2019, quicker and fitter than ever before. She enjoyed an encouraging start to the season, winning the Kango Caves and West Coast Marathons.

Race No.

First Name

Surname

Country

Running Club

6839

Geoff

Burns

USA

8440

Robert

Laing

GBR

16186

Reginald

Poopedi

RSA

Alpha Centurion Runners And Walkers

14237

Elijah

Kanyenda

RSA

Chiltern Athletic Club

51475

Best

Ngwenya

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

46216

Claude

Moshiywa

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

13592

Malusi

Dlomo

RSA

Nedbank Running Club KZN

15984

Steve

Hobbs

RSA

26805

Renier

Grobler

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - AGN

25035

Wayne

Spies

AUS

19647

Stimos

Ntuli

RSA

Middelburg Marathon Club

23363

Bulelani

Mgubo

RSA

Buffalo Runners Athletics Club

23638

Phalang

Mosiea

RSA

Hollywoodbets Athletics Club

25972

Andrew

Magoleng

RSA

Team Vitality - AGN

24186

Gilbert

Mutandiro

RSA

Century City Running Club - WPA

24505

Vuyani

Magadlela

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Western Province

25341

John

April

RSA

Nedbank Running Club SWD

40534

Moeketsi Moses

Mosuhli

LES

Nedbank Running Club Lesotho

37924

Fanuel

Mapamura

ZIM

Hollywoodbets Athletics Club

42604

Mabhutile

Lebopo

LES

Nedbank Running Club Lesotho

37865

Adoro

Lephethesang

LES

Nedbank Running Club Lesotho

34081

Fritjof

Fagerlund

SWE

35053

Anda

Lubelwana

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - WP

35871

Elov

Olsson

SWE

51488

Mzwenkosi

Mjaja

RSA

Nedbank Running Club KZN

20594

Alexio

Phiri

RSA

Hillcrest Villagers Athletic Club

53424

Pelly

Lamola

RSA

Polokwane Athletic Club

16064

Lindikhaya

Mthangayi

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Western Province

45015

Lovers

Hlatshwayo

RSA

Nedbank Running Club LVCC Nelspruit

29375

Sage

Canaday

USA

55925

Stephen

Muzhingi

ZIM

F1 Bluff Meats Running Club

32547

Sbonelo

Dlangamandla

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Johannesburg

59833

Tumi

Malefetsane

LES

Sibanyestillwater Athletic Club

29076

Nao

Kazami

JPN

27548

Mahlomola

Sekhonyana

RSA

Phantane Athletic Club

53216

Monyele

Monyele

LES

37554

Warinyane

Lebopo

LES

58655

Lovemore

Chabata

ZIM

37547

Sootho

Raletebele

LES

31422

Lyno

Muchena

ZIM

29140

Winfred

Mutiro

ZIM

29174

Ilja

Nikolajev

EST

29181

Teboho

Noosi

LES

29226

Siyabonga

Sakwe

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Western Province

29704

Bonginkosi

Zwane

RSA

Phantane Athletic Club

51526

Sipho

Ngxongo

RSA

Phantane Athletic Club

29066

Thobani

Chagwe

RSA

Nedbank Running Club KZN

31340

Ben

Matiso

RSA

Brimstone Itheko Sport AC

30787

Justin

Chesire

KEN

40607

Melly

Kennedy

KEN

30818

Canisious

Nyamutsita

ZIM

Other Elite Females:

Race No.

First Name

Surname

Country

Running Club

16868

Nandi

Zaloumis

RSA

Boxer Super Store

12381

Sophia

Sundberg

SWE

30062

Kate

Rees

RSA

Wanderers Athletic Club

20680

Janine

Rawlinson

RSA

Wanderers Athletic Club

15312

Heather

Fell

GBR

18360

Aigul

Mingazova

RUS

19733

Alena

Rybkina

RUS

44555

Lisa

Collett

RSA

Crusaders Running Club

25882

Cajsa

Berg

SWE

54048

Janie

Grundling

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - KZN

26314

Chrissie

Wellington

GBR

24647

Jacqueline

Kellerman

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

26489

Ulrica

Stander

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - WP

29167

Catrin

Jones

CAN

19157

Stellar

Bhengu

RSA

Team Vitality - CG

29538

Katerina

Kasparova

CZE

21233

Caitriona

Jennings

IRL

42796

Ntobezentu

Mfunzi

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Eastern Province

21237

Dominika

Stelmach

POL

Elite Teams:

Race No.

First Name

Surname

Gender

Country

Running Club

42405

Jenni

Kruse

W

RSA

Massmart Athletics Club - CG

483

Ann

Ashworth

W

RSA

Massmart Athletics Club - CG

5445

Mia

Morrison

W

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

29121

Renata

Vosloo

W

RSA

Massmart Athletics Club - CG

47013

Calvin

Malatji

M

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - Limpopo

57282

Kerry-Ann

Marshall

W

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

29483

Timothy

Munzhelele

M

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - Limpopo

30929

Gerda

Steyn

W

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Johannesburg

55780

Fikile

Mbuthuma

W

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Johannesburg

10862

Deanné

Horn

W

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Johannesburg

13899

Joseph

Manyedi

M

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

50472

Motsamai

Rantho

M

RSA

Maxed - Gauteng

36361

Siyabonga

Dingile

M

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

45047

Ludwick

Mamabolo

M

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

17472

Edward

Mothibi

M

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

30461

Professa

Mthethwa

M

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

16524

Jenna

Challenor

W

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

53711

Thulane

Magagula

M

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

21250

Carla

Molinaro

W

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Johannesburg

30013

Chrizell

Roberts

W

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Johannesburg

54793

Karel

Burger

M

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

31281

Chris

Cherry

M

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

35414

Tanith

Maxwell

W

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Johannesburg

8521

Lizzy

Ramadimetja

W

RSA

Massmart Athletics Club - CG

38449

Yolande

Maclean

W

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

45474

Vicky

Hansen

W

RSA

Massmart Athletics Club - CG

20837

Danette

Smith

W

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

26398

Enie

Manzini

W

RSA

Massmart Athletics Club - CG

18289

Gift

Kelehe

M

RSA

Entsika Athletics Club - CG

28424

Latudi

Makofane

M

RSA

Entsika Athletics Club - CG

16357

Thabiso

Bontsi

M

RSA

Entsika Athletics Club - CG

13336

Siya

Mqambeli

M

RSA

Entsika Athletics Club - CG

28577

Ernest

Mokoo

M

RSA

Entsika Athletics Club - CG

53883

Gordon

Lesetedi

M

RSA

Entsika Athletics Club - CG

39510

Charles

Mkhonto

M

RSA

Entsika Athletics Club - CG

33483

Cobie

Smith

W

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Johannesburg

21620

Siphiwe

Mashiane

M

RSA

Impala Marathon Club

23260

Samuel

Matsepe

M

RSA

Impala Marathon Club

22714

Thandokwakhe

Ngcobo

M

RSA

Entsika Athletics Club - CG

42795

Charne

Bosman

W

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

44096

Salome

Cooper

W

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

54915

David

Gatebe

M

RSA

Impala Marathon Club

41314

Thuso

Mosiea

M

RSA

Arthur Ford AC

31020

Bongmusa

Mthembu

M

RSA

Arthur Ford AC

58229

Nkosinathi

Duma

M

RSA

Arthur Ford AC

19389

Bongani

Mthembu

M

RSA

Arthur Ford AC

29889

Rufus

Photo

M

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - Limpopo

33059

Thabo

Nkuna

M

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

31049

Mary

Khourie

W

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - CG

52634

Lucas

Nonyana

M

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

27705

Sanele

Sibisi

M

RSA

Maxed - Kwazulu Natal

35149

Fanzo

Ndlovu

M

RSA

Sibanyestillwater Athletic Club

24777

Joseph

Mphuthi

M

RSA

Sibanyestillwater Athletic Club

18424

Shadrack

Mzizi

M

RSA

Sibanyestillwater Athletic Club

15199

Sekonyela

Tselane

M

RSA

Sibanyestillwater Athletic Club

27026

Mncedisi

Mkhize

M

RSA

Maxed - Kwazulu Natal

56834

Charles Dibate

Tjiane

M

RSA

Maxed - Kwazulu Natal

27296

Richard Motsamai

Mavuso

M

RSA

Maxed - Kwazulu Natal

29774

Lutendo

Mapoto

M

RSA

Murray & Roberts Running Club  - Limpopo

42785

Odwa

Tunyiswa

M

RSA

Maxed - Kwazulu Natal

33294

Lucas

Raseruthe

M

RSA

Maxed - Kwazulu Natal

30315

Mziwonke

Ngwendu

M

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

32862

Matlabeya

Mabapa

M

RSA

Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North

30570

Tk

Moshwetsi

M

RSA

Impala Marathon Club

30581

Itumeleng

Moitse

M

RSA

Impala Marathon Club

30807

Nkosikhosi

Mhlakwana

M

RSA

Maxed - Kwazulu Natal

30810

Lindelani

Ximba

M

RSA

Arthur Ford AC

CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “We wish all of our top contenders the very best on Sunday, 9th June. The Comrades Marathon attracts the very best ultra-runners in the world and this year will be no different. This year’s Up Run already promises to be an epic race.”