Mhlanga Records a Comrades Up Run PB

Hollywood AC’s Marthel Mhlanga was over the moon after shaving over three hours off his previous Up Run PB. Thathe Msimango chatted to him after the race.

Mhlanga crossed the finish line in 07 hours 14 minutes compared to 10 hours 40 minutes clocked in the last edition of the Up Run in 2019. The 35-year-old Durban resident says the up run is more challenging and requires an athlete to have a tactical approach.

“Comrades up run is very challenging and tough. You have to climb for the first 30 to 40 kilometres so you must dig deep. It requires an athlete to be very disciplined [in terms of] how you approach the race,” said Mhlanga, who earned back-to-back Comrades Silver Medals last Sunday.

Despite the gruelling race, Mhlanga wasn’t surprised by his performance after he decided to take his running more seriously two years ago. Before the Ultimate Human race, he participated in Two Oceans Marathon where he ran a decent 3 hours 57 minutes and produced a 3 hour 14 minutes run during Durban International Marathon late in April.

“I wasn’t surprised with my performance because last year I managed to get a Silver Medal on the down run where I clocked 07:04. This improvement comes from dedication, discipline and a lot of hard work in training. In 2022, I started to take running seriously. Then I joined a running group called 03:40am squad where we train Monday to Saturday at 03:40 in the morning around Durban. So this year I had a proper training compared to 2019 where I lacked experience tackling the up run,” explains the electrical engineer.

Mhlanga who joined Hollywood Athletics Club last year, says he was attracted to the club by the support system that the club extends to the runners.

“The people I was training with were part of the Hollywood Athletics Club so I saw how the support they were getting from the club which attracted me. The way they support the runners, especially at races – they always have the gazebo at the finish. Even on the route, they are present and motivate the athletes to go and finish the race. Since races are tough sometimes, to have people backing you is encouraging. So I hope they continue doing that because it is wonderful,” he said.

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