How to win a Comrades Marathon Gold Medal
01 June 2016
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Brad Brown: Welcome onto Old Mutual Live, great things start here, great things start now. I love chatting to athletes who are fast and our next guest is particularly fast. He’s a Comrades Gold Medallist, he finished 10th in Comrades 2015, Thuso Moseai. Thuso, welcome, thanks for joining us today.
Thuso Moseai: Thanks for having me.
BB: Thuso, a Comrades Gold Medal is something special, you must be pretty proud of that achievement. There aren’t too many people around who own one of those?
TM: Yes, man, it is actually an honour to be one of those who can run the Comrades, it’s a nice feeling, it’s something you cannot describe. But again, it’s a lot of work that you do, it’s about four months preparation and yet, yes, it’s a nice feeling.
BB: Thuso, you dipped just under six hours, that’s a phenomenal time. I was joking before we started recording, I’m quite happy with a sub six hour first half. Six hours for the whole race is great going.
TM: Yes, but it’s a tough one to run under six hours. You need to prepare yourself because to run with those guys, it’s not easy. Even to maintain the pace for the whole race. You have to be well prepared for the Comrades.
What goes into going for Gold?
BB: Thuso, let’s talk about what goes into winning a Comrades Gold Medal. We get lots of emails here from guys who reckon they are the next big thing in South African running and they want to win a Gold. Then we start talking about the work that they need to do, they slowly disappear. For you, I mean it’s not easy, like you say. What goes into winning Gold at Comrades?
TM: It’s even this for me, because if you’re working and then training for the Comrades, it’s very difficult sometimes. You have to wake up early in the morning, 3:30 before you can go to work and then train, again, after work. You have to put a lot of time, especially if you want to be in the top ten, because to run almost 250-300km a week, it’s not easy. You have to have good support at home, and at work, it’s not easy at all.
BB: Just repeat those kilometres that you run a week? On average, how many kilometres would you run a week, your peak week. What’s your biggest week before Comrades, how many kilometres in that week?
TM: It is 300km a week because I remember in December, when I was counting my kilometres per month, it was 1.18 per month in December, so you can see actually what you put in.
BB: That’s amazing Thuso, you’re obviously a very good runner and I hear those numbers and I have a bit of a laugh to myself because a lot of the average guys at the back of the pack, guys like me. We’ll talk from the 1st of January to Comrades, that if we make a thousand kilometres from the 1st of January to Comrades, we’re happy. You’re talking about doing that per month, that’s amazing.
Hard work pays off
TM: Yes, actually I’m a good runner, yes, I can be a good runner. But again, you have to put a lot of work behind that and then you have to be very disciplined.
BB: Where did your love for running start from? Have you been running from when you were a little boy?
TM: Yes, when I was at school I was running. But I just stopped, almost 10 years. I only started in 2009 when I took it seriously, but everything took a turn in 2011. I think my best actually was in 2011 and it took me almost three years to be in the top 20 of the Comrades. Then it was only the five years and then I get top 10. That’s why you have to put in a lot of work and you have to be very disciplined.
BB: I think that’s a very important part, that yes, you do get athletes that burst onto the scene and arrive and they announce themselves, but for most people, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
TM: Yes, indeed, if you are not disciplined, then you’re not dedicated to what you have to do, I don’t think you can achieve that.
BB: Thuso, as far as other races you love running, Comrades is special, I think, to all of us here in South Africa, there’s something amazing about that race. But what other races do you love running here in South Africa?
TM: Normally I run only four races here in South Africa, one is the Comrades, two two others and the fourth is the Two Oceans.
BB: I think that’s an important point you make as well. Do you find that guys who are running competitively here in South Africa race too much?
TM: Yes, some of them, yes, they do race too much. But you find those ones that are very clever and then they know actually what they want to achieve. Then they know exactly which races are the ones to target. They just run a few races and then you’ll see them in those, the races which they target, which they’re performing well.
BB: Pretty important advice there, target the ones you want, Thuso, best of luck on your running career, we look forward to catching up again soon, thanks for your time here on Old Mutual Live.
TM: Thanks very much.