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Athletics | Running

Odwa Tunyiswa © Gallo Images

I'm ready to win it again - Tunyiswa

Ultra distance runner Odwa Tunyiswa believes he can prove his worth again as he defends his City to City marathon title on Sunday.

Running in his debut ultra-marathon last year, Tunyiswa sprung a surprise by finishing first in a time of two hours, 50 minutes, 36 seconds (2:50:36) in the 50km race.

This year the confident runner, who was ninth in the 56km Two Oceans race in Cape Town in April, said he was looking to improve his time and finish ahead of the pack in what he believed would be an easy race.

"I'm now used to the distance," Tunyiswa said.

"Earlier this year I ran the Two Oceans and came in the top 10, so I don't think it's going to be tough.

"I'm planning to run my race and I'm not going to jog on the day.

"If the other runners are jogging I'm going to be ahead of them.

"Last year it was my first 50km, and that was tough because it was steep, but this time around I really think it will be faster and easier because it's going down (from Johannesburg to Centurion)."

The first City to City ultra-marathon was held in 1903, with only 30 runners taking part.

Over the years the race has attracted top local and international stars.

Among the thousands of runners lining up in the men's race this weekend will be Thabo Nkuna, Charles Tjiane and Peter Muhubi.

In the women's race, Comrades veteran Farwa Mentoor, Kerry Koen, Adinda Kruger and Riana van Niekerk are expected to lead the charge.

Lizih Chokore won last year's women's event in a time of 3:28:56.

Not shaken by the pressure that lay ahead, Tunyiswa, who is trained by former New York marathon winner Hendrick Ramaala, said he thrived under pressure and was up for the challenge.

"I'm aware of the competition. Most of those runners are really good, but that doesn't bother me because I believe in myself," he said.

"I'm very motivated because my coach, Hendrick Ramaala, and training partners Zonganele Dyubene and Siyabonga Makhalusa have been encouraging me during my training for the race.

"Hendrick said I must just relax and enjoy it, the win will come."

Sunday's event also includes half-marathon and 10km races.


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