“Hopefully I will defend my title.” If these words from 2019 champion Bongmusa Mthembu are anything to go by, the 2022 Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon is gearing up to be a great one for the books indeed.
In 2019, Mthembu finished his race with clinical precision to run down the opposition to win in 3:08.39.
It was a spectacular athletic display from the 39-year-old with arguably the best pedigree in ultra running in the country.
Mthembu had stuck to his race plan, even when Kenya’s Justin Cheshire chased the 3:03.44 course record set by the incomparable Thompson Magawana back in 1988.
When entries opened for this year’s Two Oceans Marathon, Mthembu was the first elite male runner to affirm his position at the start line.
“It is good to be back to be able to do what we love, both as elite and social runners, and I am looking forward to this year’s race,” says Mthembu.
“Training is going well. Defending my title is important. A race of the calibre of the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon is very prestigious, and to win it is an honour. So, I will make sure that I am prepared as best I can be for the race”.
Acutely aware that he will have a target on his back as defending champion, he is confident and will once again stick to a strict race plan.
“Hopefully I can execute that plan perfectly, as I did in 2019,” says the individual silver and bronze medallist at the World 100km Championships (2016/2018).
Two Oceans Marathon set for Easter Sunday 17 April
When the Covid-19 pandemic brought races to a halt – and saw the 2020 and 2021 Two Oceans Marathons cancelled – Mthembu was able to rest and come back with a three-minute improvement on his marathon best time from 2:20 to 2:17. He also put in a good showing at the SA Half Marathon Championships in 2021, finishing in 1:07.48, proving he still has plenty of speed in the legs.
With a fit Mthembu on the start line, expect fireworks at the Two Oceans Marathon which will be held on Sunday, 17 April.