It is 05:00am and still dark as the Nedbank running club duo of Edward Mothibi and Dan Matshaliwe step outside in the crisp air, 3100m above sea level at the Afriski resort in Lesotho. Dressed in their green Nedbank running club tracksuits and Nike running shoes on their feet, the duo embarks on yet another training session all towards one goal: a new world record over 50km at next month’s Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
After winning the 2019 Comrades Marathon and with the world at his feet, Covid19 swept over the world and Mothibi didn’t get many opportunities to showcase his talent, but when the opportunities did arise, Mothibi rose to the occasion and next month’s Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km is no different. In 2020 Mothibi took victory in the Cape Town Marathon and at last year’s Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km, Motihbi was in it until the last 5km where a few stomach issues saw him drop to 10th over the line, but in a very respectable 2:47:02. Mothibi then further improved his marathon personal best with a 2:13 in Cape Town 4 months ago and is in shape and ready for the event which returns for the 2nd time to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
“The training has been going very well and we have a race plan for both myself and Dan come race day,” said Mothibi. Training partner Matshaliwe may not be a well-known name to many who follow the sport, but the quietly spoken man who hails from Rustenburg is a force to be reckoned with and finished 7th at last year’s Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km. “We won’t say much now about tactics but the goal time we have set out together with our coach Dave Adams is that we will be looking to run a time of under 2:42.”
Nedbank running club Ethiopia’s Ketema Bekele Negasa was victorious in last year’s event setting a new world record time of 2:42:06 so a time of under 2:42 will result in a new world record, provided its Mothibi or training partner Matshaliwe across the line first. “We know there are many great runners coming so it will be a tough battle, but we are well prepared, and it will be great if one of us are crossing the line first and being called a world record holder,” said Mothibi. “We will finish our training back home in Rustenburg where we will do our sharpening and getting some speed, so we are ready for race day.”
This year’s Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km will be broadcast live on SuperSport and returns to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality with another record before the starting gun has been fired. World Athletics who govern the sport have granted the event an Elite label, the first ultra-marathon in the world to achieve this status. The event now sits together with many prestigious big city marathons around the world in only its 2nd year.