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Comrades silver for Katlehong club

The Katlehong Athletics Club earned its first Comrades medal in almost a decade.

The Katlehong Athletics Club (KAC) returned home with a silver medal from the Comrades Marathon for the first time in almost a decade.

This followed their 12km race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on June 11, where KAC member Vuyani ‘Video’ Simayile took a silver medal after completing the race in 07:27:00.

According to club chairperson Nthabiseng Mosheqane, they had 20 runners registered, but only 14 started the race, and 12 completed it.

The group described Simayile as the first club member to win a silver medal in eight years.

He said he hardly looked at his watch during the race until he heard voices loudly cheering the runners.

“After I saw I was about 2km away, I looked at my time. I think it was 07:20:00. When I was about 1km, the stadium was visible. As I got closer, I started seeing people. As I crossed the finish line, I thought, the silver is here. I was happy,” said Simayile.

He is a seasoned runner who started in 2002, and his first Comrades was in 2007.

He said his performance improved with every race. He has 13 medals.

Other runners who participated included Tumelo Mkoena and William Jiyane, who won the Robert Mtshali medal. Modibedi Mokena and Owen Mudau won the bronze, Tumelo Thamaga, Nokuthula Sikhosana, Silas Maytshaba Teboho Mphore, Lwazi Maosheqane and Fortunate Mosheqane.

It was Mphore’s first Comrades.

“I think I did well, considering it was my first time. I finished in 11:53:00. It was a proud moment and shows that if you put your mind to something, you will archive it,” said Mphore.

“Many people do not finish the race because they stumble across problems, so finishing means a lot.”

Thabo Tsie, a second-time runner, said he took valuable lessons from his first race. He said he started the race at a sprint until he ran out of stamina and stopped while fans encouraged him to keep running.

Tsie was also a soccer player before an injury knocked him off the pitch.

He said this year, he planned to run at a moderate pace and apply the same methods from the training sessions.

“I feel happy and proud to have completed both races. I want to go again next year. It is fun. That is why they call it the ‘human race’. There are a lot of people with positive energy, and they encourage you. It is a special race,” said Tsie.

Another second-time runner, Nokuthula Skhosana, said she learnt that when you start something, you have to finish it. You will always encounter challenges, but you must focus on your goal.

She said the first race was difficult, but the second was the worst because you knew what to expect.

KAC was established in 1992 and is home to 120 runners across Kathorus.

Mosheqane said the club’s objective was to grow a community of runners. They have masters whose age range is 50 plus and youth runners.

She shared that the club had other programmes, including a school shoes charity drive for primary school learners, hosted memorial runs, and pre-Comrades runs.

Mosheqane highlighted the lack of sponsorship as the club’s only challenge, making it difficult for some runners to participate.

She explained that running was not cheap because the participants had to pay for the race registration, accommodation, transport and food.

Anyone wanting to contribute to KAC can contact Mosheqane on 073 366 7335.

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