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MBABANE – Part of the hilly route during the Lubombo Marathon proved a challenge for visiting South Africa’s athlete Sifiso Ngcobo.

After finishing as a runner-up in the 21km in the Lubombo Marathon last Sunday, South Africa’s Ngcobo shared his thoughts on the challenging race. He said he found the hills to be the most demanding aspect of the race. Despite the toughness of the race, Ngcobo was pleased with his performance, achieving a podium finish by completing the race in 1:12:02 hours, securing second place. However, he fell short by just a minute from tying for first place, as Sipho Mamba crossed the finish line at the Siteki Sports Ground in 1:11:02 hours. Ngcobo expressed that he regularly trains for hills, but unfortunately, his body did not respond as expected on race day.

“I  noticed with 6km left of the race as we passed the 15km mark on our way back to the finish line that my opponent was going to beat me because that is where I started struggling,” Ngcobo reflected. Ngcobo also mentioned that this was his first race in the kingdom, as he had previously participated in a few races back home. He also praised the favourable weather conditions during the race day, describing it as perfect for running a marathon. The race commenced just after 6am, when the weather was still cool. However, as the race progressed, the sun emerged, adding to the fatigue experienced by the athletes. This was highlighted by the defending champion in the 42km, Samkelisiwe Tfwala. Representing the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS), Tfwala completed the 42km in 3:41:16, securing 23rd place overall in the combined male and female results.

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