DURBAN– One of South Africa’s most unique marathons, the Sani Stagger endurance race, promises to be a showdown of the best-of-the-best when it comes to potential winners for the 42-km race which takes runners up and down the iconic Sani Pass on the border of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province ad the Kingdom of Lesotho on Nov 25.
With the famous Comrades Marathon taking place just six months after the Sani Stagger, a number of the top contenders will use the race as an important part of their build up to the iconic ultra-marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in KZN in 2018.
Among the Comrades hopefuls entered for the Sani Stagger is defending Comrades Marathon champion Bongmusa Mthembu. The man from Bulwer, KZN and lt; who ran commandingly to a second Comrades title in 2017, sees the Stagger as an important early season event.
I love the Sani Stagger and I try and run it every year, the current South African 100-mile record-holder said. It is a race that is early in my preparations but it is important because it is the start of my consistent training for Comrades. To have a race at that sort of altitude is another massive benefit and to have some of the top runners in the country there is also a positive.
The Sani Stagger fills more than one role when it comes to Comrades Marathon preparation; it is also a race qualifier. For Mthembu and the rest of the hopefuls, the Stagger is going to provide them with a good idea of who is in strong early-season form.
It is great that we are going to have some of the top runners there this year. With the likes of Skhumbuzo (Dlamini), Ludwick (Mambolo) and Lovemore (Chabata) running, it is going to make the race really interesting. Such strong runners add to the excitement of the race, added Methembu.
When asked about how he would approach the Sani Stagger, he had a very clear plan in mind. To be honest I use the Comrades as a guideline, Comrades 2018 will be a down run so I will focus my energy on getting down the (Sani) Pass as quickly as I can. This means that I will try and conserve energy going up the pass and then race hard down the hill. I want to try and get down the pass in just over an hour, added Mthembu.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK