Hollywood Athletics Club: 2024 Comrades Marathon Male Contenders

Nkosikhona Mhlakwana, Sikhumbuzo Seme, Mahlomola Sekhonyana, Msawenkosi Mthalane and Makwande Mngwcengi will look to shine at the 2024 Comrades Marathon.

Nkosikhona Mhlakwana

Mhlakwana will tackle his second Comrades Marathon up run and banish the memories of his first attempt from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. In 2019, he was 250 meters away from claiming ninth position when his legs turned jelly, forcing him to crawl into the finish line. He ended up missing out on a Gold Medal after finishing 11th. Far from disappointment, the 30-year-old Howick resident made a strong comeback securing a gold medal in 2022 edition of the race.

As part of preparations for this year’s race, Mhlakwana has been smart in terms of racing. In February, he participated in the Runified 50k race where he clocked impressive 2:50:12 on his way to claiming third spot. For endurance, he opted to take part in the challenging and hilly Harry Gwala Marathon where he ran a well calculated and composed race to finish third overall with a time of 02:35:05.

Sikhumbuzo Seme

Sikhumbuzo Seme came agonisingly close in finishing inside the Comrades Marathon Top 10 last year when clocking a wonderful time of 5:30:05, claiming 11th place. What’s more impressive is that he was running the race for the second time and managed to improve his time by more than 30 minutes – after clocking 6 hours 7 minutes on his debut in 2022. Under the guidance of his father and renowned athletics coach Michael Seme, Sikhumbuzo is a great example of a hard-working athlete. For months, he has put in the hard graft without racing to prepare himself for a full go at the Comrades. He will be a Gold Medal threat for sure.

Mahlomola Sekhonyana

The running community was left stunned when Mahlomola Sekhonyama stormed to the fourth in 2019 Comrades Marathon in time of 5:43:42. The 37-year-old teacher had pulled out the outstanding performance of his career to date. Now, he is going to tackle another up run to prove that performance didn’t come as the fluke. To build the winning mentality closer to the race, he recently come out victorious in the challenging and brutal Chatsworth 52km race in a time of 3 hours 18 minutes. So that performance will be great mentality boost on his quest to replicate 2019 success.

Msawenkosi Mthalane

A relative novice in ultra-distance running – Msawenkosi Mthalane will take on the gruelling Comrades Marathon for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old Pietermaritzburg-based athlete has enjoyed a great start since stepping up to ultra-marathons. In last year’s Two Oceans Marathon, he finished fourth overall with an outstanding time of 03:11:16. The man who conducts his training in the hills of Underberg has been cautious in terms of approaching the race. He has sacrificed participation in races to be at his best on race day. He has just one marathon under his belt this year – the Harry Gwala Marathon – where he finished eighth overall.

Makwande Mngwcengi

At 28, Makwande Mngcwengi is still learning the ropes in the ultra-marathon distance. Training Nkosikhona Mhlakwana will allow him to acquire all the necessary skills to propel him into the upper echelons of South African ultra-running. There are encouraging, incremental improvements whenever he competes. Now preparing for his third Comrades Marathon and first up run, Makwande will want to continue the trend of improving his times in the race. In his first attempt he ran a smooth 6 hours 12 minutes and last year he dipped under 6 hours to record 5:53. Now rubbing shoulders with Mhlakwana for months during training, the man who hails from Qumbu in the Eastern Cape will be looking for an even better outcome.

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