South Africa’s Comrades Marathon 2019 winner, Edward Mothibi says he will start to work on a training programme to defend his crown. Friends and family gathered at Mothibi’s home in the village of Magogoe Koikoi in Mahikeng to celebrate his achievement. Mothibi attributed his win to dedication and self-discipline.

The 34-year old mine worker started running from a young age at Rapulana Primary school in Lotlhakane village. He says he also played soccer, but Mothibi ended up choosing running which at the time was convenient for him due to shortage of soccer facilities in Mahikeng.

His friend, Clifford Mothibi, says they had nicknames for him because he was passionate about soccer and athletics.

“We grew up calling him names; Sphi, Scare-crow, and Kunu because of the way he used to play. He actually started playing soccer and at a later stage, he realised his talent in running through the Crusaders team. That is where Mr Kurata Makhobo identified him, and sent him to the runners’ team.”

Mothibi won the 2019 Comrades Marathon under the Nedbank Johannesburg team. He says he used to participate in  local and provincial running competitions, even after his school time. He has again attributed his win, to his team support, and also his family.

He however, says his win was not an easy feat.

“I was a soccer player before but I grew doing them both, but I ended up choosing running because I started knowing places through running. Started to see Cape Town through running, Eastern Cape through running and it shows through athletics I can see so many places. So that is why I fell in love with it and take it as my career.”

His family attests that Mothibi came a long way with running and it runs in the family because his father was also a good runner.

“He has ever since loved running. I was just telling his grandfather this perfectly suits him. And this really runs within the family; even his father was very energetic, even his grandfather can run.”

The North West Sports Department says it has financially supported 187 runners from across the province who participated in this prestigious sport event in 2019. Education and Sports MEC in the North West, Wendy Matsemela, says plans are in place to grow talent from schools.

“It is within our plans that within school sports, we need to see young boys and women who are doing long distances. That is number one. Our schools are doing very well because most of our learners are ending up at national therefore; it says our programs are in line with whatever we want to do for sports development in our province.”

Mothibi has pledged to work with the provincial Department of Education in developing talent in schools across the province.