By Thathe Msimango
Tete Morena Dijana is confident of retaining his title at this year’s Comrades Marathon.
More than 20,000 athletes will be lining up at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall to take on the gruelling 89 km race, but Dijana is looking forward to being the first one to enter the Kingsmead Cricket Stadium in Durban on Sunday 11 June.
Dijana, who triumphed in last year’s race with a time of 5:30:38, recently underwent a training camp in the high mountains of Dullstrom organised by his club, Nedbank Running Club.
Alongside teammates, including former Comrades champion Edward Mothibi, Dan Matshaliwe, and Adele Broodryk, Dijana is feeling confident after his preparation.
“I’m feeling positive. We’ve done what it takes to prepare for the big day,” he said.
“This year we had more time to get ready and I’m well prepared to tackle the race.”
Dijana, who works as a security guard at the University of North West, said he is very happy that he is entirely injury-free.
“I’m going into the race in perfect condition,” he said.
Bongumusa Mthembu, a three-time winner of the marathon, anticipates a tactical and mentally demanding race this year due to the limited preparation time.
He emphasised the importance of proper planning and expects the victor to be exceptionally strong – and have a winning strategy.
The women’s race promises to be a closely contested affair.
Broodryk, who placed third in her debut last year, feels she knows a lot more about the race and anticipates better results this time.
Broodryk is confident in her understanding of the competition and is prepared for a tough challenge against stiff competition from pre-race favourite 2019 champion Gerda Steyn and other formidable contenders like Yolande Maclean.
Pictured above: Tete Morena Dijana