Cape Town - South African Air Force Corporal Malusi Dlomo has an exemplary service record of seven silvers (sub-7:30) and one Wally Hayward medal (sub-6:00) at the Comrades.
Dlomo was hoping for second Wally Hayward medal in 2018, but went down in flames shortly after Pinetown.
With 10km left he was heading for a dishonourable discharge.
Having slowed down to over 5 minutes/km, he slowly soldiered on towards the finish line until the leading lady, Ann Ashworth, flew past him.
Exposed deep behind enemy lines, Comrades was inflicting psychological warfare on Dlomo.
In his own words, “I felt exhausted and I dropped my pace, I told myself that I was going to run 6:30 because I was jogging until Ann Ashworth caught me.”
Interesting Fact: Comrades has the largest mobile medical support team in the world outside of those in active warzones.
Dlomo added that he knew women finish Comrades stronger than the men and hoped to latch onto Ashworth’s pace for 5km to get him closer to home base, but “after joining her the fatigue disappeared”.
He was hooked with the “cameras and people along the road cheering (for Ashworth as first lady)” and was amazed after the race when he realised the pace was well under 4 minutes/km.
How fast were they running?
Corporal Dlomo flew home with the fourth fastest final split in the entire field (which was his best ever).
He said he rested enough before Ashworth caught him which helped (but it had nothing to do with fear of being “chicked”).
Not only is this eligible bachelor a superb runner, but he also coaches other athletes in his spare time and has won the “Fittest Soldier” award for the last two years (he plans to defend his title in August).
Dlomo is based in Limpopo and runs for the Nedbank Team. Although Nedbank help their athletes out with shoes and supplements, he is not personally sponsored and ran Comrades in Nike Vaporfly 4 percent which he bought himself.
As for whether this future Comrades gold medal winner plans to let the leading lady inflict Corporal Punishment on him again at Comrades 2019, he hopes not - largely because he’s up for promotion to Sergeant in October!
We salute Malusi Dlomo for another fine Comrades performance!
About the author: Stuart Mann is a compulsive marathon runner and independent writer. He loves writing about South Africa’s great races and the people he meets whilst running on his popular www.runningmann.com blog. He is active on social media (especially when his wife watches MasterChef or Grey’s Anatomy) on the handle @runningmann100.
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