Among those who will be at the starting line on June 3 is three-time winner, Stephen Muzhingi, who is set to face a challenge from Russian legend, Leonid Shvetsov, who has made a surprise return to the race after going into semi-retirement for three years.
Shvetsov retired in 2009 after losing the title to Muzhingi.
Nedbank Comrades star, Claude Moshiwa, has also qualified to run the race. Should Muzhingi win, he will become only the second runner in history, since Derek Preiss, to have won both the Two Ocean and Comrades ultra marathons in the same year.
The King of Comrades, Bruce Fordyce, will also make a comeback, but this time for silver on his 30th Comrades. Fordyce still holds the record— having won nine Comrades — seven of these in consecutive years.
Muzhingi, who is hoping to smash records, is unfazed by the threat posed by the Russian and other athletes and has vowed to fulfill the pledge he made to President Mugabe last September to bring the Comrades Marathon medal to Harare for the fourth time in a row.
This, he said, would be in celebration of Mugabe’s 88th birthday. The long-distance runner hopes to defend his title and fulfill the promise he made to the President when he visited the State House last year. Coincidentally, the Ultimate Human Race on Earth, this year enters its 88th edition.
“My first ever win was for myself, the second for my son Methane who had just been born and the third was for every Zimbabwean who supported me right through to the rope.
“Next year (2012) I will be running for my President who has shown recognition for my achievements over the past three years,” Muzhingi said upon receiving a US$50 000 token from Mugabe last year.
Last month Muzhingi won the 43rd edition of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in South Africa after clocking home with a time of 3:08.08, pocketing R250 000 in the process.