Edward Mothibi winner of the 94th Comrades Marathon on June 09, 2019 in Durban, South Africa. Picture: GALLO IMAGES / ANESH DEBIKY
Edward Mothibi winner of the 94th Comrades Marathon on June 09, 2019 in Durban, South Africa. Picture: GALLO IMAGES / ANESH DEBIKY

Training at home is proving to be a huge challenge for Comrades Marathon champion Edward Mothibi as he tries to prepare for the defence of his title amid SA’s Covid-19 lockdown.

Mothibi and runners around the country have been restricted to training in confined spaces at their homes. He conceded that not being able to test himself on the road over long distances as he usually does has proven to be difficult.

The 2020 marathon is scheduled for June 14 but it is unlikely to go ahead as planned. The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has indicated that the event could be cancelled if it is not staged before October 4.

“With regard to possible postponement‚ which would require Athletics SA sanction‚ the CMA board is of the view that the race cannot be staged later than October 4 2020 owing to climatic conditions. Failing which the 2020 Comrades Marathon will have to be cancelled for the first and only time since World War 2 in the 99-year history of the race‚” a CMA statement said.

Asked how the uncertainty surrounding the race has affected his preparations‚ Mothibi said runners’ programmes have been negatively affected and they had no idea what would happen.

“I am trying to be as positive as I can be but it is not easy to keep the body in good physical condition‚ and to also maintain proper fitness by just running around the house‚” he said.

“Running around the house is definitely not enough for us‚ we need to do long distances.

“I need to be working on speed‚ endurance and other technical things but it’s impossible to do those things while running short distances around the yard.

“You must also remember that our bodies are not the same‚ there are some athletes who will be OK even though they are not doing intense running outside. But there are those who are going to struggle with weight if they don’t do hard running outside.

“This is a serious challenge for everyone, but we will have to be creative with how we keep ourselves fit while we wait for the authorities to inform us on the way forward.”

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