Sello runs Comrades Marathon in such pain



MASERU – Teboho Sello competed in the 2023 Comrades Marathon last weekend despite being in excruciating pain.  Notwithstanding this, the experienced runner managed to win a gold medal in South Africa’s toughest and longest road-running event.

The arduous 90.2km race runs between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in Kwazulu-Natal. Sello, 44, went to this year’s edition of the race suffering from the flu but he finished among the top 10 runners. He came in at position seven in 5:24:23 in the fastest down-run episode, which saw previous winning records being broken in both male and female categories.

“I am quite happy with my performance in the race, taking into consideration that I was down with flu before and during the race,” said Sello in an interview with Public Eye yesterday. “I coughed repeatedly during the race until the half-way mark when it began to be warm, thus making me feel quite comfortable to race.” But Sello still maintains that his overall performance was hugely affected by the flu at the end of the day.

 “The pain of the flu was unbearable, so much so that I could no longer sustain the pace of the runners I was running alongside from the beginning of the race to the half-way mark. “At the time, my skin was in real pain, not the muscles, as is always the case. But I endured the pain until I crossed the finish line.” 

Sello said he caught the flu as he was preparing for the same marathon.  “Fortunately, I had prepared well for the race, as the flu got me later as I was fine-tuning my preparation.” 

Sello said his main target was to finish among the top three runners.  He said even though he could not achieve that, he was still content to be among the top 10 finalists.

The top 10 finalists in both male and female categories were paid, with the winners receiving R500 000 and the runners-up walking away with R250 000 each. The third and fourth-placed runners received R180 000 and R90 000, the fifth and sixth-placed runners were paid R70 000 and R40 000, and the seventh-placed runners getting R35 000.

 Having finished in position seven, Sello won his fourth Comrades Marathon gold medal, becoming the second behind Raster Mohloli with five. Tete Dijana and Gerda Steyn won this year’s Comrades Marathon in the male and female sections, respectively.

Dijana crossed the finish line in a record-breaking 5:13:58, surpassing David Gatebe’s best time of 5:18:19 set in 2016 by over four minutes, as he (Dijana) successfully defended his Comrades Marathon title last Sunday.

Steyn, on the other hand, secured the women’s title with a time of 5:44:54, breaking the record held by Frith van der Merwe set in 1989. Lesotho runners are yet to win the Comrades Marathon in both male and female categories.

Another Lesotho runner who ran this year’s Comrades Marathon to the finish, Paul Machachamise, came in at position 1 238 in 7:53:08.  Last year, none of the Lesotho runners made it to the top 10 at this ultimate human race.                      

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