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MBABANE – A silver medal in the Comrades Marathon is no easy feat.

Eswatini’s outstanding athlete Themba Vilakati, a teacher from Sidvokodvo Railway Primary School, who made the country proud in the Comrades Marathon held in South Africa at KwaZulu-Natal last Sunday, has expressed his joy on the achievement. He did not only win a silver medal but also a ‘back-to-back’ medal. One of his medals is for finishing the race and the other one recognises the fact that he finished it last year. The medal is also awarded to those who achieve such a feat consecutively.The ‘back-to-back’ medal was introduced in 2005 and in order to qualify for one you must be a Comrades novice and you need to complete two consecutive Comrade Marathons.“I am very excited about my performance as I got a silver medal and I was also awarded a back-to-back medal.  “To me, getting a silver medal is an achievement since it is not something that comes easily. “Athletics is an interesting sport and I will definitely attend the next marathon without hesitation.


“Speaking of the sport as a whole, I don’t know in what way our government can recognise this marathon event, because it is of high importance. “That send-off by the Ministry of Sports for those athletes, who are attending long distance races, can be a sense of motivation to us and support. “Those few words of encouragement can mean a lot to the athletes as they go to compete,” Vilakati said, who ran for 07:23:18 hours.Vilakati had also attended another race in SA ahead of the prestigious 87.7km Comrades Marathon, which attracts runners from all over the world. The race he started in before the Comrades Marathon was the 42km Mpumalanga TRACN4 Marathon organised by the Nedbank Running Club LVCC at Waterval Bovel.
Meanwhile, the outstanding runner also attained position four in the 42km Lubombo Marathon finishing the race in 03:10:24 hours, which speaks volumes about his commitment and potential. Meanwhile, back to the Comrades Marathon; over 17 000 runners took part in the 87.7km marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.