MANCOSA BCom Supply Chain Management student, Mr Menzi Ncgobo was among the thousands of runners who completed the ultimate human race – the world-renowned Comrades Marathon, an ultra marathon run over 88 kilometres between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Running the race for the second consecutive year earned a double win for Mr Ngcobo who received two medals – the back-to-back medal for completing races two years in succession and the bronze medal that runners receive on completion of the race within the stipulated timeframe.
The Comrades Marathon coincided with other life events for the final year student who had to undertake an intensive exercise regime in preparation of the race; celebrate the birth of his son prior to the challenging race and prepare for his mid-year examinations at MANCOSA which he wrote a day after completing the punishing marathon.
Inspired to compete in the marathon by his late father, Mr Thula Ngcobo who was sports inclined, Menzi said training for the race was the most difficult aspect he had to face, where a runner had to start a four to five hour training run in the early hours of the morning.
“The run itself is not as gruelling as the preparation. Running in memory of my father had inspired me to complete the race. This year was an easier run compared to last year. However, the climb up Botha’s Hill made the race more tough and it was quieter with no cheering crowds as was the case in Kloof, Pinetown and Westville,” said Mr Ncgobo.
Participating in the Comrade has complemented his studying believed Mr Ngcobo, who said training runs were a sort of ‘detox’ where one worked different muscles, used different thought processes and experienced the fresh outdoor breeze – an experience that left one motivated to study soon after a run.
He encouraged other students to take on the challenge of the Comrades Marathon as it was a beautiful way to keep healthy. He suggested that others who have not attempted the race do so as it not only offers a healthier lifestyle but also offers the time for personal introspection.
Mr Ncgobo said he was often asked how he completed the race; attended to the duties of fatherhood and wrote examinations the very next day (after Comrades). “It all comes into place with the right support system. For me it was the support of my high school teacher and cricket coach who started off the race with me. You have to be surrounded by people who support your goals. It is important for one to understand the system. For example to succeed at my education here at MANCOSA I have to understand the study processes and study hard to be successful,” he added.
Mr Ngcobo will take to the road again next year where he will compete in his third Comrades run.