Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 162 October 2023 | Page 63

Mlungisi Mazibuko Mxolisi Ndlovu Ruth Cozien
“ I started running from an early age as my father , Bethwell Mazibuko , was a local running hero and ran Monties in the early 2000 ’ s ,” he says . “ I wanted to be a better runner than he was , so I naturally felt pulled towards the event , and I have made him proud by winning the event two years in a row . I wish to keep winning and improving my times , as well as inspire the local youth by showing them that anything is possible if you remain committed .”
On his Cape Town Trail Marathon experience , he says , “ It was an unbelievable experience . It was my first time on an aeroplane , and first time in Cape Town , as well as my first time running on an international stage . It was not easy , but I hope to get another opportunity to run it in future and get into the top three . I am very grateful to everyone who made this possible for me .”
Inspired to Be the Best
Mxolisi works as a security guard at the Montusi Mountain Lodge , a luxury accommodation venue known for its beautiful and tranquil setting in the Northern Drakensberg . He was inspired to run by another local running hero , Mandla Mncube , who also used to run Monties , and he says , “ I have taken part in the Monties Challenge five times . I won the 21km in 2022 , and have come in the top 10 in the 50km race from 2017 to 2019 . I was especially proud coming second this year . Preparing for this event is no small feat , as it takes me a full year to feel ready to take on the challenge . Whether it ’ s great or terrible weather , I always make an effort to stay on my programme , as I feel it prepares me for any eventuality come race day . The weather in the mountains can be very unpredictable .”
On his Cape Town Trail 22km run he says , “ I had a blast . My first experience on an aeroplane was nerve-wracking , and I ’ m grateful to have made it off the plane safely ,” he says with a chuckle . “ It was a world-class trail like I ’ ve never experienced before . I found the stairs very challenging , and I learnt and experienced something new , which I loved . It was amazing to see the runners from Cape Town , and they inspired me to want to become a better trail runner , so I , too , can ultimately be the best . I ’ m very grateful to all who made this dream a reality , and hope to take part again in future .”
For a Wonderful Cause
Funds raised by the the Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge event go directly to Royal Natal and are spent in line with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife ’ s conservation mandate . The park has several Bearded vulture nest sites , and a comprehensive programme of camera traps , nest surveys and second-egg collection . These critically endangered birds need all the help they can get to survive , as only around 350 are still left in South Africa . Other funds are used to purchase anti-poaching equipment for the hard-working field rangers , who are out on route during the event , while a portion of the funds go into maintaining the trails , with large teams of community members employed .
Dr Roelie Kloppers , WILDTRUST CEO comments , “ Monties is engrained in the DNA of the Trust , being one of the first trail running events we ever staged to raise funds for conservation . It is also a great opportunity to get people into the WILD , thus raising awareness of the amazing natural heritage of our country and the need to celebrate and protect it . We are extremely grateful for all the sponsors , partners and participants who share our vision .”