Zimbabwe-born and Johannesburg-based, ASICS Front Runner, Mudzinganyama, 32 recently won the biggest race of his career when he took out the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon. Givemore had previously dabbled in the Two Oceans, having run to 12th position in the 2015 Half Marathon and having earned an impressive runners-up medal behind Kane Reilly in the 2018 Long Trail race.
After experiencing considerable success as a trail athlete – including a hat trick of wins at the Cape Town Peace Trail 21km and partnering Edwin Sesipi to victory in the AfricanX team race – Mudzinganyama pondered his future as an athlete.
“I loved trail running, but you can’t easily make a living in that discipline,” Mudzinganyama admitted. “So after working at the ASICS shoe store in Johannesburg, I opted to become a full-time professional athlete and joined up with Hendrick Ramaala and his club, Entsika.”
But it was a lesson in fishing, which was responsible for Mudzinganyama’s path to Oceans glory. “I was struck by what our manager said at our club’s end-of-year meeting last November,” Mudzinganyama said. “He said that while you could earn some smaller income by running regular shorter-distance road races if you ‘can catch one big fish a year’ you could make a real living.
Here, in his own words is what he learned from catching his big fish:
BE ADAPTABLE IN YOUR GOAL-SETTING
As a runner, qualifying for the Olympics is the ultimate goal, but it's not always easy to achieve. That's why I decided to focus on the big races in South Africa. These ‘big fish’ races such as the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon and Comrades Marathon (among others) can almost equate to the Olympics, and winning one is a significant achievement. The prize money is also substantial, which motivates many runners to compete.
IT DOESN’T ALWAYS HAVE TO GO SMOOTHLY TO BE A SUCCESS
My training block was going well until I suffered a calf injury during the Cape Town marathon in October of the previous year. I started training again in December, but then I suffered another calf injury. I started training again in January and decided to run a race in February as preparation for the big race, the Trojans Marathon.
Seven weeks before the Trojans Marathon, I started pushing myself harder during training. However, I faced a setback leading up to the race, where I struggled with nutrition and lost my appetite. This resulted in me feeling fatigued and struggling to find a balance between my training and diet. Despite the setback, I managed to achieve a podium finish at the Trojans Marathon, winning with a time of 2:17:10. I took a lot of confidence from that.
A GOOD COACH AND TRAINING PARTNERS ARE CRUCIAL
To stay motivated, I trained with coach Hendrick Ramaala and his club, Entsika at the Zoo Lake. There is a good bunch of fast, talented athletes and to stay focused we are always motivating each other. Training is crucial for any runner, but setbacks can occur along the way. It's essential to stay focused and motivated, even when facing challenges such as injuries or nutrition issues. Speaking with other athletes and having a coach can also help runners stay motivated and achieve their goals.