“Everything I do revolves around running…”

MZOXOLO BUDAZA AND KEAGAN MITCHELL

Running in his fourth Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, Hout Bay Harriers long distance runner Anda Lubelwana, from Imizamo Yethu, became the first member of the club to cross the finish line, recording his personal best of 3hrs37min in this race.

In his previous three Two Oceans Marathons, Lubelwana recorded 3hrs50min, 4hrs00min and 3hrs46min.

He said he was targeting 3hrs30min this time around but an incident with his new watch cost him a precious seven minutes.

“I got a new watch a few minutes before the race. I didn’t make time to familiarise myself with it prior to the race and that proved to be a problem.

“About two or three kilometres into the marathon, I realised that it had stopped working, I tried fiddling with it until a fellow runner came by and lent me his. I have lost seven minutes but, having said that, I am not complaining because I was able to do well in the end,” he said.

Lubelwana, whose eyes are now firmly on this year’s Comrades Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, said it took him about three months to prepare for this year’s Two Oceans.

He said he trained six days a week, mostly in the mornings, until two weeks before the race when he started slowing down.

Lubelwana said running came naturally to him as he used to run from his home village of Gatyana in the Eastern Cape to the nearest town.

He said most of his early life involved running and that is one of the reasons he didn’t find things difficult when he had to run competitively.

“I got to Cape Town, and started playing soccer. I didn’t like football and felt out of place but, with nothing else I could to, I just played along. That continued until one day when I saw people running down the road. I approached them, enquired and that’s how I joined the club. That was back in 2013 and now I am enjoying each and every race I take part in,” he said.

Looking ahead at the Comrades, Lubelwana said he hoped to finish within 5hrs50min.

This, he said, was achievable even in his first Comrades, especially considering that this year’s event is a “down” race.

As his preparations continue, Lubelwana’s next port of call is the Langebaan race, which takes place on Saturday April 23.

He said every race he takes part in, between now and the Comrades, will be important in terms of his preparations.

“For the Two Oceans, my training involved a one hour run on Monday mornings.

“On Tuesdays, I would do a one hour and seven minutes’ run in the mornings as well as a 3km speed training in the evenings. Wednesdays were dedicated to a one and a half hours’ morning run and 3km speed training in the evening. I train once on Thursdays and take a rest on Fridays,” he said.

He dedicated his Saturdays to hourly speed training. He said he will not deviate much from this programme, as he prepares for the Comrades.

“I also hope to take part in as many races as possible, in between my training schedule because I want to be at my sharpest when the Comrades comes around. I feel ready though,” he said.

Just like most long distance runners, Lubelwana’s ambitions go beyond the Comrades.

He wants to win as many major races as possible and become one of the country’s most respected runners.

This, he said, was possible as long as he kept working hard on his running.

“I have been running all my life and, as a result, everything I do revolves around running. So, I think I have what it takes to achieve a lot. When I started here for instance, I didn’t know how to train for races as I just used my natural talent. But, as I took part in more races, I realised it was not just running from start to finish, you have to have an approach and pace yourself accordingly. That involves a lot of training,” he said.

His message to aspiring long distance runners is simple: “Find the nearst club, join and get involved.”

Hout Bay Harriers team manager Graham Botha agrees, saying he foresees a bright future for the 29-year-old.

He said Lubelwana had a natural running ability and was improving with every competition he took part in.

“Anda has always been one of the faster guys at the club and has developed significantly since he first started out in 2013,” he said.

Botha said he hoped to see him making the Western Province road running team in the near future and to continue to be successful at what he does.

“I would like to see him at least making the top three in one of the big competitions, such as the Cape Town Marathon. He is one of those good guys to have around, one of those quiet people when it comes to one-on-one situations but that comes to an end once he’s around friends and teammates. He’s a good guy all round,” he said.