Mambo clinches 50km race

HARARE - Zimbabwe's road running king Marko Mambo was at his best yesterday as he romped to victory in the rain-soaked Old Mutual Om die Dam Ultra Marathon in Hartbeespoort, North West, South Africa.

The Bindura-based athlete who was using the race as a barometer to measure his readiness for the Comrades Marathon could not have received a better answer as he led from the 10km peg.

He held on, running at a steady pace of 3:30 minutes per km to claim first place out of 3 914 starters in a time of 2:59:14.

Mambo was a few seconds ahead of Nedbank Running Club Zimbabwe team mate Colin Parura who stopped the clock in a time of 3:00:41.

South Africa’s Rofhiwa Mathidi of Rocky Road Runners Club raced to a third-place finish, running a time of 03:01:16.

In the women’s category, South Africa’s Salome Cooper claimed the women’s title in 3:39:48 ahead of compatriots Cobie Smith (3:50:22) and Lesley Train (3:55:32).

The Old Mutual Om die Dam Ultra Marathon is the largest inland ultra-marathon in South Africa, offering a 50km ultra marathon, a 21km half-marathon, a 10km route and a 5km fun run.

Mambo who became a house hold name in ultramarathon after claiming the Two Oceans marathon in 2004, 2005, and 2008 believes he is now near his best.

“It was tough route but I am happy I pulled through,” Mambo told the Daily News from South Africa.

“My focus remains the Comrades marathon. Last year I finished 11th , it wasn’t one of best experienced at the ultra-marathon.  This year, I am hoping to rediscover the form I had in 2012 when I finished fourth. Hopefully I can a step further and finish in the top three.”

Now 47, Mambo believes he still has a lot left in the tank.

“I don’t count my age, I count on my training. If I do my training well I know I can overcome any obstacle,” Mambo said.

The Comrades Marathon is the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon run over a distance of approximately 90km between the capital of the Kwazulu-Natal Province of South Africa, Pietermaritzburg, and the coastal city of Durban.

Other fleet footed athletes expected to carry the hopes of Zimbabwe at the event penciled for June include Mike Fokoroni, Stephen Muzhingi who is slowly falling off the radar after his 2009-2011 treble, Charles Chabata and Hatiwande Nyamande.

Nyamande who is nicknamed DAF after the DAF trucks which are tailored to suit varying terrains will also be putting his engine on the road.

Nyamande was third in 2015 and runner-up in 2017 and could well be another Zimbabwean to watch out for at this years’ Comrades marathon.


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