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Interview with Stephen Muzhingi

Stephen Muzhingi - Craig Fry

Stephen Muzhingi – Craig Fry

Stephen Muzhingi interview –

1. We are counting down days till Comrades Marathon on the 2nd of June, 17 to be exact. How has the training been going?

Yes it is close now to race day. The training has been fine. I feel that I am in as good shape I was at the last up run. I am over my calf injury I got at Two Oceans so it was hard work and I had to catch up training, but I can feel my body is good now. I have worked hard at speed so I feel that I am faster now than I have ever been.

2. Would you say you’re ready for the big day?

Yes. If you are not ready at this time then you will never be ready. Training is all over now and its just a case of these next 17 days of keeping nice and relaxed and most important is to rest now so that on race day you are 110% ready to go.

3. I’m not asking you to reveal your secrets, but out of curiosity, tell us a bit about your Comrades training program?

Hahaha well Comrades is another race altogether, and many of the top guys will tell you that we all kind of do the same training, Hills for Strength, long runs, speed and speed endurance. I could give you my full training programme but what works for me won’t work for others. As long as you keep the basic 4 aspects in running then all should go well. For me I divide my programme up over 6 months and then it all comes together in month 7 for race day in month 8. I have always done most of my training in Zimbabwe in rural areas so that I don’t worry about traffic. A little secret is that I do as lot of cross country work so that this gives all your muscles a good work out, so you become very strong.

4. Any special diet that you’ve adopted or yet to, before the big day?

No special diet for me. I eat Sadza (mealie meal) chicken or beef as always. This is how I have always eaten and so I don’t see any necessity to change this for me.

5. I have to admit, I was shocked to not see you in the top 10 at Two Oceans Marathon this year. How did you find that race?

As my manager said to me “It was as bad day at the office.” I enter every race with the intention or belief in my mind that I can win, but some days it is just not possible. I was well prepared at Two Oceans and I really wanted to defend the title. I was in the group and at around 15km my calf started hurting when I was running at my normal pace. So I slowed down a bit to see if it would come right, as it was early in the race and If it could stop hurting then I would still have enough time to catch the leaders. After 2km I tried to push up again but the calf was still sore. When I was running at an easy pace it was fine. My Manager told me to get off the road and stop running, but I just felt at the time that I had an obligation to my sponsors, FedGroup, Toyota and Adidas that I stay in the race. I felt that running easy I can just finish the race as a good long run. Mr Craig was angry when I wouldn’t stop and get into the car, but during the race I couldn’t stop and discuss this with him as it would take too much time. He told me that I was running Comrades and that I must stop, but I said it was ok. We talked after the race and all is good now. The problem with the calf is that my back was a little out of alignment so I was extending too much with my right leg so that’s why it was hurting when I was running st pace and fine when I was running easy. But all is fine now.

6. We have covered the details of last year’s race in the previous interview we did with you, I hope the same problems won’t be hampering your progress of this year?

No, I don’t think we will have the same problems like last year. Since December I went back to my Manager Craig Fry and we have always had a good relationship so I am sure we won’t have the same issues like last year. I am now more focused and determined to bring a good result.

7. Who is your biggest threat?

There are many guys there this year and many have improved. I would have to say Fanie Matshipa, as he ran a strong race in 2011, Claude Moshiywa, he improves each year at Comrades and he is due a win, and was 3rd in 2011. I was hoping to have Leonid Shvetsov running again this year as that would have given me good inspiration. Because when I won the up run in 2011 he was not running the race and I wanted to have a chance to compete with him in the up run. Ludwick Mamabolo, he has proved he can run down hill and got 8th in his first up run in 2011 so he has experienced the up run. As I am defending Up run Champion and Ludwick is Down Run Champion there is a lot to run for and I am sure it will be a good race.

8. Craig Fry pieced together a prediction of this year’s race. Please predict your own top 10, assuming you were not going to participate in the race.

If I wasn’t running then I would have to say, in no order: Gift Kelehe, Fanie Matshipa, Claude Moshiywa, Mike Fokoroni, Point Chaza, Marko Mambo, Bongmusa Mthembu, Ludwick mamabolo, David Gatebe, Teboho Sello

9. On behalf of Running Matters South Africa, we wish you luck. Any final words?

Thank you for the opportunity and for the support you have given me since you started Running Matters, and I wish you all the best in the future. I want to thank all my friends, family, supporters as well as Mr Lucas (Toyota SA AC), Mr Field (FedGroup) and Mr Phillip and Mr Adrian (Adidas) for sponsoring me and supporting me this year. Without the support the job would be very hard for me, but when I see all the nice comments on my Twitter and Face Book accounts, this gives me inspiration to want to do better for all and myself. Then a word of thanks to my wife (Erina) and my two Boys, Mathen and Ethan I do this for you. Last but not least thank you to Mr Craig for believing in me and taking me back as his athlete this year and to his wife Donnette for all she does for me and my family.

Good luck to all runners doing Comrades this year, all I can say to everyone, “run your own race on the day and you will be fine, but most of all have a good day.”

Interview done with

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