Cape Town - Not even a virus will stop the 100km world
champion, Jonas Buud, from racing for gold at the Comrades on Sunday, May 29.
Buud, who will be racing in the colours of
the Nedbank Dream Team, was hoping to become the first Swedish athlete to win
Comrades but, unfortunately for him, he caught a cold in March.
“It took me almost four weeks to recover
properly, which meant that I missed out on some crucial practice and had to adjust
my goal for Comrades. I think a top-ten finish is now a more realistic goal.”
Any athlete with aspirations of winning the
down-run (Pietermaritzburg to Durban) would be foolish to take Buud’s comment seriously.
The Swede is a seasoned campaigner who seems
to become better and better with age and who does not quit once he has set himself
a goal. His performance in the IAU 100km World Championships demonstrated this.
Last year Buud finally had the privilege of standing
on top of the podium at the 28th edition of the event which was held in the
Dutch town of Winschoten. The 41-year-old took the lead at 63km and just kept
extending his lead all the way to the finish line, eventually crossing the line
The Swede’s time was a national record and a
huge improvement of more than five minutes on his personal best time, moving him
up to 12th on the all-time list for the distance.
Buud was second in the 100km World
Championships in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Another of his achievements is winning the Swiss Alpine Marathon (78km),
one of Europe's largest ultra-races, on eight occasions.
The Nedbank Dream Team athlete is no slouch
either when it comes to racing the Comrades. He already has three Comrades gold
medals to his name. His best result was a second place finish on the up-run in
2013 when he finished in a time of 5:41:21. In 2011 he was fourth in
5:42:45 and in 2014 he was seventh in 5:38:17.
Asked what it takes to run a good Comrades,
Buud said: “Daring to trust yourself. It is important to realise that Comrades
is an 89km race. There is no point in being in first position after 45km.”
Buud started his
preparation for Comrades with a three week training camp in New Zealand. While
there he won the Tarawera Ultra 100km, which is part of the Ultra Trail World
Series. In March he finished sixthin the North Face Transgrancanaria at the Canary Islands.
“I will be training in Madrid during the last
few weeks to get a feel for running on asphalt again. Here in Sweden the
temperature at the moment is only a few degrees above zero.”