The other day Andrew from Cape Town visited us for the first time, and dropped off some very kind and constructive comments. In a brief exchange between myself and Andrew, he dropped in this pearl from the Comrades broadcast on Sunday, which I think, more than any other, illustrates exactly the point I was making in my post on the race from Monday 18 June (check it out below).
“Thinking of Sipho Ngomane, while watching the race on Sunday, they had an interviewed with him, and a comment of his peaked my interest, “As soon as I’m out of my contract, I’ll focus on marathons.” Listening “between the lines” I could pick up he wasn’t that keen Comrades anymore.”
— Quote from Andrew at the Comrades blog
If this quote from an elite runner doesn’t tell you what the problems with SA road running are, then nothing will. Until such time that people like Nick Bester and the drivers of the ultra-marathon machine stop exploiting the athletic talent we have, we will not compete with the likes of Shvetsov at Comrades and any other runners over the marathon. Sipho Ngomane is a 25 year old runner, with a personal best at 21 km of just under 62 minutes (if my memory serves me), and he has now run 4 Comrades and 4 Two Oceans! What a shame!!!
And it’s not only the managers and agents to blame – it’s the authorities, who use their money so poorly that our talented runners are forced to the ultra distances too soon. When Nedbank sponsored ASA to the tune of R85 million, half that money should have gone into creating an elite racing league over 10 km and 5 km, so that runners with some talent were basically being paid not to run the ultras, at least until they were older. Then they’d hit Comrades with speed and experience, and the likes of Shvetsov and his comrades would know they were in a race!
Next time, we’ll look at science behind the down run, and what single factor, more than any other (in my opinion), will predict how well you can perform, and how you should train.
Bye for now!
This post is part of the thread: Marathon Analysis – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.