The three times consecutive winner of the world’s hardest marathon, the runner of the second fastest Comrades ever and the Jabu Sports Star of the Month, Stephen Muzhingi agreed to an exclusive interview with All Things Jabu. And here it is
All Things Jabu (ATJ): Hi Stephen. Congratulations on winning the toughest road race known to man for a third consecutive time!
Stephen Muzinghi (SM): Thank you!
ATJ: So lets start at the beginning. What made you want to conquer the ultra marathon?
SM: I loved running, and thought I could do well at it. After my first attempt, I think I finished in position 157 (ATJ: The comrades website has Stephen listed as 115 in 2005), it brought me back to earth. I suppose the seed had then been planted and I felt I had a point to prove not only to me, but aso for my family. I decided that I will work really hard to win this race.
ATJ:You have just emulated Alan Robb and Bruce Fordyce by winning 3 in a row, whats your next goal with the race?
SM: I would love to make it four in a row and become only the second person to do this (ATJ: Bruce Fordyce won 8 in a row in the 80’s). If all goes according to plan then I would have to say that I want to chase Bruce Fordyce record.
SM: I have to say yes because I want this very badly! Make no mistake it will be extremely hard to do, but I will give it a good go nonetheless.
ATJ: You famously ran the second fastest time in history of 05h23 in 2009, do you think you can beat this?
SM: Yes, I know I can beat this. I was trained to run a 5H20 this year. I had to secure the win before chasing the record and this years race was very different from previous years. Fanie (ATJ: Matsipa finished second 2 minutes behind Stephen) went out early and I couldn’t let him get away. As a result we ran far to0 fast in the beginning stages. I went through half way 7 minutes faster than planned. But I’ve learnt a lot from this. I now know that I can run at a higher pace earlier in the race, so will just work on being bale to maintain that high pace for as long a period as possible. Then hopefully I will be able to break Leonid Shestov’s record (ATJ: Leonid Shestov rand a 5h20 in 2007) which is another one of my goals.
ATJ: Can you tell us about your training programs?
SM: Unfortunately I cant say to much about these! But I have a typical programme of strength, speed and endurance work. I also have secret training that I do on my own which I think gives me the edge for now. But its not easy, as I train for many hours on my own and sometimes do runs of 4 hours with no water. I always push hard and remember that saying: “No pain, no gain!”
ATJ: What about your diet?
SM:Nothing really special there. I eat sadza, chicken and meat but you cant beat sadza the Zimbabwean way. Its my power and energy booster. I also use supplements such as 32GI in training.
ATJ:If you werent a marathon runner, what would you be doing?
I would probably have a regular job like being a barber because I can cut hair and used to do this. But I think I would want to be a cameraman. I just love filming things and taking photos. My family often shout at me because I always want to film them around the house and doing things.
ATJ: Speaking of your family, I saw that they were with you at the Comrades this year, did that motivate you further?
SM: Of course. This is one of the reasons why I run. I have a responsibility to my wife and son (ATJ: Erina and Methane) to look after them as well as I can. I spend a lot of time away from them so I must win so that it is worth the time spent away from them.
ATJ: Would you advise Methane to take up ultra marathon running?
SM: He must. He is a Muzinghi and its in our genes. It would be great to see his name on the Comrades winners board too. That being said I will encourage him to do what he desires, because if he doesnt like running then he wont enjoy it and wont excel. He will, in time, make up his mind and I will support him in whatever he wants to do.
ATJ:As you are aware, All Things Jabu is a blog about all sport, so what other sport are you a fan of?
SM: I love soccer and since being in South Africa a lot, I have also started watching cricket and rugby.
ATJ: Favourite teams?
SM: In rugby its the Sharks and in cricket the Dolphins (ATJ: He does train in Kwazulu natal). I have to say that in soccer I support Pirates (ATJ: Nooooooooooooo!) in South Africa, much to the disappointment of my agent, Craig Fry, as he is as Kaizer Chiefs man (ATJ: Good man!). We often have a go at each other about this, but all in good humour.
ATJ: Okay Stephen, please put on your Paul and the Octopus hat and tell us which team you think will win the World Cup?
ATJ: Thank you for your time Stephen! Good luck for your future races!
SM: Thank you too! It is always a pleasure! I’d also like to share a word of thanks to everyone that has supported me. Since winning the 3rd time, I have been completely overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of support I have received. I never in my wildest dreams would have expected this. Thank you, thank you to Everyone. Special thanks to Cliff (my coach), Craig (my Manager) and Donnette (ATJ: You can follow her on twitter) (helping with all my social media things Face Book, Blogs, Videos, Twitter. I am learning a lot from this) Lastly thanks to my sponsors, Nike, 32GI. You are all awesome and important in my life.
Last but not least, to my family Erina & Methane I love you and thank you for giving so much to me whilst I follow my dream!
To read more info on Stephen you can go to any of the following links:
I would also like to congratulate Stephen on being invited to run the New York Marathon! Congrats from All Things Jabu!
This interview has been shared with the other site I write for. Run Ride Dive