Stephen Muzhingi, Going for Gold at Comrades Marathon 2013

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An Introduction to Stephen Muzhingi, The Man, The Legend

UPDATE 2013 - After being forced to run 2 Ultras and one marathon in the space of less than two months in 2012, Comrades Marathon last year saw Stephen saying goodbye to former coach and manager of F1 Bluff Meats Athletics Club, who, by all accounts, was the reason for his not winning Comrades 2012, as expected.

But Stephen is back. After parting ways with his manager as a result of interference by his former coach after winning Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in 2012, the two have renewed their WorldWide Exclusive Contractual Partnership Agreement for the following three years. With this comes the promise of blue chip sponsors, a fantastic new club, new apparel sponsors, and a determined and psyched Stephen Muzhingi!

Stephen Muzhingi, born in October 1980, is a Zimbabwean national who is now a Professional Athlete, and specializes in Ultra Marathon and Marathon running. Stephen could, in previous times, be seen manning his hair salon in the city of Harare.

He was the Comrades Marathon Champion until 2012, when he achieved a 6th position, and won consecutive races in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and recorded the second fastest time in 2009, 5H23, over 89.17KM. With 6 Top 10 places (Gold) at Comrades, The Ultimate Human race, he is 1 of only 3 people to have won 3 consecutive Comrades Marathons. The controversial win by Ludwich Mamabola (running for Mr Price Sport) is still under investigation, and Mamabola has successfully appealed his ban on competitive running. (March 2013)

Stephen also boasts 5 Gold Medals for 2 Oceans Ultra Marathon, held annually in Cape Town, South Africa and has won many races at 42.2km and 50km. He is the 2012 Two Oceans Marathon. Some experts in the running business suggest that the Two Oceans win cost him his Comrades race.

Stephen is married to Erina and they have two young son, Mathen and Ethan. (They are the apples of daddy's eye)

Stephen lives in Zimbabwe and spends 6 months of the year in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, with his manager and friend, Craig Fry, where he completes his training for Comrades each year.

Image: A radiant Stephen Muzhingi, during one of his many visits to our home. This in March 2013 after signing up with Toyota SA Athletics Club, under the magnificent chairmanship of Lucas.

Very Important to Note

This lens is a tribute to Stephen Muzhingi, and documents portions of his journey to becoming the legend that he is today. Whilst I will continue to update the lens, the historical value of information (and imagery) already provided will remain. ALL images, unless otherwise stated are (c) myself, save for logos, which are owned by the relevant organizations.

Stephen and Craig, on signing the Totyota and FedGroup contracts! A new era for this sporting hero has begun ~ 2013

Stephen and Craig, on signing the Totyota and FedGroup contracts! A new era for this sporting hero has begun ~ 2013

Stephen and Craig, on signing the Totyota and FedGroup contracts! A new era for this sporting hero has begun ~ 2013

#MyJourney in Adidas ~ SM

stephen muzhingi after signing his lucrative contract with Adidas at Two Oceans 2013 Expo, with manager Craig Fry

stephen muzhingi "

Proud to be sponsored by FedGroup and Adidas

Running his first race for ToyotaSA Athletics Club

Two Oceans 2013 saw a disappointing 34th position for the legend, however at 12 km he was instructed to bail the race by his manager after sustaining a knee injury. “No, sir, I will finish the race. This is why I came here!” was his response. And finish the race he did, to roars and cheers of the crowd of thousands in the stadium at UCT.

Thank you FedGroup!

This Blue Chip South African company has taken a leap of faith and invested in the talent and determination of Muzhingi.

Adidas.... first to try out the Adiosboost, and new arrivals in South Africa, Adidas

First to try out the Adiosboost, and new arrivals in South Africa, Adidas certainly leads the way in apparel!

Philip Venter of Adidas SA interviews the Champ and discusses the new Adiosboost!

2012 Two OceansMarathon winner and 3 times Comrades Marathon winner, Toyota Running Club’s Stephen Muzhingi (FedGroup) chats to Philip Venter of Adidas SA about the awesome brand new Adiosboost here at a bustling busy and seriously exciting Two Oceans Marathon Expo
@ToyotaSA's Stephen Muzhingi & @venter_philip interview. Ne
by Donnette Davis | video info
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A Dejected Stephen Muzhingi After Comrades Marathon 2012

Our close friend, and hero to many, Stephen, looked broken and dejected after not winning 2012 Comrades. He WILL be back!

Running the New York Marathon for My Mother

Thousands upon thousands of applications are turned away each year for a coveted invitation to run the New York Marathon

Stephen Muzhingi to run New York Marathon November 2011 2011 saw Stephen having to forego a trip to Switzerland in September as a result of his mother’s serious illness. Sadly she passed away a few weeks ago, leaving behind a devastated Stephen. Stephen was invited to run the New York Marathon on 06 November 2011, a lifelong dream of his – and intends to do so in honor and memory of his mother. Says Stephen “My family sacrificed a lot for me to get to where I am now, so it is sad that she won’t be able to see me run my first race outside of Africa. But I will give my best for her.”

It wasbe Stephen’s first visit outside of the continent of Africa. He received the news of the invitation on 21 June 2011, after his manager, Craig Fry, had been negotiating with NYRR (New York Road Runners) since January. Stephen says that he has never had the speed to qualify for the coveted elite athlete invitation (to New York marathon) but after winning his 3rd consecutive Comrades Marathon this year confirms that he has a “…sub-2.20 marathon time but have never really raced a marathon properly, so this will be a true test for me. My aim is to run a 2.10 or faster, which I know I can do and all I can say is thank you to NYRR for the invitation and to Craig for making this happen for me.”

Stephen completed the New York Marathon in position 29. His aim is to return for a win.

Connect with Stephen on Twitter and Facebook. A humble, but refreshingly ambitious man, Stephen has the most wonderful sense of humor, and simply relishes interacting with his friends, fans and supporters.

References: Scanned from Modern Athlete Magazine, October 2011 Edition- used with permission

An Introduction to Stephen Muzhingi

by Stephen Muzhingi

Stephen Muzhingi and Methane Muzhingi, Comrades 2011 “I am Stephen Muzhingi, the current three times Champion of the Comrades Marathon, The worlds Greatest Ultra Marathon averaging 89km each year. The Comrades is run between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, in South Africa, and alternates each year, one year starting in Durban and finishing in Pietermaritzburg, and the next year the other way around.

I am born and bred in Zimbabwe, and live there with my wife and 2 year old son, as well as spend 6 months a year in Durban where I prepare for Comrades with my Coach.

In signing up for my Wordpress Blog, I hope to be able to share with the general public, a piece of me, and who I am and what it takes to do what I do. From the hardships growing up in poverty, and what I have had to do to get to the top of the Running World, to the highs, of winning races, and what this has done to my life to the lows of bailing from races that I should have won.

The sacrifices that a professional athlete has to make and how this effects my life and that of my family, not only of my wife but my extended family, all of whom play a huge part of my life, and because of their continued support of me and my running, allows me to become a Champion. Without this support system I would be nothing, just an average “joe” Sunday runner. But I have been fortunate to have an awesome support system and thank my family every day for what they give up to help me do what I do.

I hope you will enjoy what I will have to say ….. and I look forward to sharing me with you, and hopefully we can all achieve what we set our minds to, and together we will all be winners.

All the best

Stephen Muzhingi

PHOTOGRAPH CREDIT : AL NICOLL

In support of fellow countryman, Munya Jari, after Jari smashed the Maritzburg Marathon record in 2.22.04 in 2013, Muzhingi was

In support of fellow countryman, Munya Jari, after Jari smashed the Maritzburg Marathon record in 2.22.04 in 2013, Muzhingi was

In support of fellow countryman, Munya Jari, after Jari smashed the Maritzburg Marathon record in 2.22.04 in 2013, Muzhingi was

"Don't have a habit of want, want, want and fail to deliver." ~
Stephen Muzhingi 2010

Duel Debate Module

Stephen was invited to take part in the New York Marathon (42km) in November 2011. Could he have won it?

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What does his manager, Craig Fry say? eh? c'mon...

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Donnette says:

Stephen did not make it in his anticipated time. He did however run a stunning race! Replying to Vee:derogatory and spite-filled remarks like this are normally deleted. However your bitterness only serves to amplify the true grit of our great champ and no this "great man" to whom you refer did NOT make Stephen a Champion. Stephen himself is the true champion here.. he is the runner and winner of the race! Referring to "great man" I assume you refer to "Coach" - IMHO any coach or human being worth his salt (+ the money he earns from Stephen) would ensure that Stephen's salary is paid by the Club for which he runs which has not been done for more than 6 months, and that his sponsored motor vehicle, apparel, shoes and even sunglasses are actually GIVEN to him and not utilized by said "Coach" and his wife - yes, even today both Coach and his wife, Vee, make use of clothing, shoes and accessories that are intended for the champion. Don't be making derogatory remarks on my page when you yourself are guilty of exploitation of this great athlete! His trip to New York was arranged completely by his manager with no input from Coach who wanted nothing to do with it, and Stephen's millions of fans worldwide are acknowledged and respected by both the athlete and his management team, something that was never done prior to Stephen requesting and obtaining the services of his current contracted manager/agent.

vee says:

a champ .who made him a champ?or how he became a champ,what was he before?what family support he had before he came a champ ,ask him. he was like dirt on the street.and somebody great cleaned him up and made him a champ.there was no manager nothing,only 1 person did it all.

Craigfry276 says:

Have said it already - he will rock, and come home even bigger a Champion that he already is - if thats possible -

Craig Fry says:

Lets be real, there are some really super fast guys there. But I know SM very well, and he has as the heart and determination and a hunger for success. He has the strength, endurance and its a case of getting his speed right, but we have time. Once in the race he is so determined that he will stick with the front bus and if he is there with the last 5km to go, watch out......you will see the ?animal? come out to play he will fight to the death to win. But All I expect from him is to give it his all, I know he will. I predict he will run as 2H10 there & smash his PB time. If he does this he will certainly be in the top 10. He is as true Champion and in my eyes arguably the greatest athlete of his generation, asnd I am honoured to work with Stephen. ?He gonna eat dat big apple?

Paul Smuts says:

wel done stephen,im positive u can win it!

Alma says:

absolutely!!

StephenT says:

If he can post a 63min in a 21.1km in his build up to the NYC, anything is possible.

Donnette says:

Did you see his finish at 2 Oceans 2011 (56km)? He's an ultra distance machine BUT I think he can win it over 42 km... YES YES YES~!!

 

Growing Up...

Stephen Muzhingi, with his Manager, Craig Fry, 2010 Growing up in Zimbabwe was tough on young Stephen, who ran because his uncle, Essau Magwaza, was a Champion Marathon Runner in his day, so running was in the genes. Transport to and from school was not possible, so he ran approximately 20km a day. As time went on, running 20km a day became easier for him, as it became the norm to do this trip. This probably laid the foundation for Stephen to become a Marathon Runner

He ran his first Marathon when he was 16 years old and finished the race but can’t remember the exact finishing time. He says it wasn’t fast, he was still very young. It was then that he thought he may have a talent for this running thing, but didn’t really take it too seriously.

The seed had been planted.

In May 2004 Stephen went to South Africa where he met up with his current Coach, Cliff. He says he was not particularly fast, with a Personal Best marathon time of 2H48. He was a little overweight at the time, and his nickname with the Zimbabwean athletes was, (translated from Shona) “Fat Rat.” But that didn’t bother Stephen as he had a goal in mind – and that was to win the Comrades Marathon one day.

In 2005 he entered the City to City Marathon, which is a 50km race between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and while he thought he was ready for this race and could win it, he bailed. The race started and he ran comfortably with the thought that the front guys were going too fast and would tire out and he would catch them.

“At the 25km point I was so far off the pace, and the front runners were not slowing down. I was struggling and could not see me making another 25km. Cliff pulled me off the road and out the race. I climbed into the car and felt terrible that we had travelled so far and I was now disappointing so many people, as I wasn’t even able to finish the race, let alone win it. I bailed!!!!!”

Driving back to Durban for 6 hours with the Coach was going to be tough!

Stephen’s coach was, according to Stephen, disappointed in his performance but assured Stephen that he WOULD win the Comrades Marathon within the next 4 years – Stephen had to learn to be patient and disciplined to get the desired result.

Stephen had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He agreed to do what the coach recommended and how he wanted the training to be done.

Stephen @ Comrades 2010

A Photo Video of Zimbabwe’s Stephen Muzhingi running and winning his second consecutive Ultimate Human Race, Comrades Marathon 2010. This was Stephen’s 6th Comrades Marathon. Stephen had won 4 Gold Medals at this stage (Top 10) and 2 Silver Medals (Sub 7H30).

Music Credit: “The Story” by Brandi Carlile
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Going Forward..........

Aiden aka Grumpy Grumpleton seriously annoyed that Stephen was going home - taken 2010 After winning his 3rd consecutive Comrades Marathon Stephen took a 3 week break for rest and recovery as the immediate plans are to run a marathon in Switzerland in September where he hopes to run a PB time of sub 2h19.

Stephen’s plans include running the Township to Township Race in October/November or if he receives any international race invitations he would like to attend those events, but from December 2011 preparations begin for him to attempt to win his 4th consecutive Comrades Marathon in 2012.

One of his personal goals is to be the Comrades Marathon record holder, so 2012 is an important year for him and he hopes to eclipse the magic 5 hour 20 mark set by Leonid Shvetsov.

Connect with Stephen on Twitter and Facebook. A humble, but refreshingly ambitious man, Stephen has the most wonderful sense of humour, and simply relishes interacting with his friends, fans and supporters.

Subscribe to Stephen’s Wordpress Blog

Signing Autographs at Special Guest Assembly at Laddsworth Primary School, held in his honour 31 May 2011

Signing Autographs at Special Guest Assembly at Laddsworth Primary School, held in his honour 31 May 2011

Signing Autographs at Special Guest Assembly at Laddsworth Primary School, held in his honour 31 May 2011

Cooling Off ~!!

Comrades 2009

Muzhingi, Loyal Friend

Here with fellow Zimbabwean Collen Makaza, and his great friend, Aiden.

Thinking of running a marathon?

It's not as difficult as one might think... correct nutrition, training, apparel, support are all ingredients to help you on your way.

Stephen's Wordpress Blog

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Comrades 2009

32Gi chatting to winner Stephen Muzhingi

The 32Gi Team took the time to chat to Stephen Muzhingi before the Comrades Marathon this year. Stephen was already determined to win the race and he landed up achieving his goal of winning the 85th 89km Comrades Marathon in a time of 5 hours 29 minutes. Well done Stephen – Fuelled by 32Gi
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Interacting with friends and supporters

Stephen is hands on with input and works really hard on his social media sites. He is passionate about people.

Muzhingi, Dedicated Family Man and Doting Father

The World "Runs" With Stephen~!!

This Picture is Worth More than 1000 Words... Raw Emotion, supporters cheer for one of the most remarkable athletes of our generation Even though Zimbabwean, Stephen has touched the hearts and lives of many in South Africa, and all who know him love his wickedly witty sense of humour, his humble and modest demeanour, his loyalty to friends, passion to his sport and his dedication to his family. When Stephen is running, the whole world is there with him – every step of the way.

Newspaper Clipping Stephen Muzhingi running with his hero, Kotov, 2007

Newspaper Clipping Stephen Muzhingi running with his hero, Kotov, 2007

Newspaper Clipping Stephen Muzhingi running with his hero, Kotov, 2007

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After Comrades 2011 with son Mathen and myself

After Comrades 2011 with son Mathen and myself

After Comrades 2011 with son Mathen and myself

Stephen is Proudly Sponsored by 32Gi, Energy Drink

Stephen is Proudly Sponsored by 32Gi, Energy Drink

Stephen is Proudly Sponsored by 32Gi, Energy Drink

Who Is This Man?

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Stephen Muzhingi is Zimbabwe’s country’s forgotten comrade, despite back-to-back victories in the Comrades Marathon. Directed and Produced by Kudakwashe Musasiwa
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Absolutely Driven By Emotion & Elation

My Favourite Comrades 2010 Picture

With fans after winning Comrades 2011

With fans after winning Comrades 2011

With fans after winning Comrades 2011

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2009 Comrades - The Moment

History of Comrades Marathon

Shvetsov (2nd) and Muzhingi (1st) Comrades Marathon 2009 The Comrades was run for the first time on 24 May 1921 (Empire Day), and with the exception of a break during World War II, has been run every year since. The 2010 event was the 85th race. To date, over 300,000 runners have completed the race.

The race was the idea of World War I veteran Vic Clapham, to commemorate the South African soldiers killed during the war. Clapham, who had endured a 2,700-kilometer route march through sweltering German East Africa, wanted the memorial to be a unique test of the physical endurance of the entrants. The constitution of the race states that one of its primary aims is to “celebrate mankind’s spirit over adversity”.

From 1962 to 1994 the race was run on Republic Day, 31 May. After this public holiday was scrapped in 1995 by the post-apartheid South African government, the race date was changed to Youth Day on 16 June. In 2007, the race organisers (controversially) bowed to political pressure from the ANC Youth League, who felt that the race diverted attention from the significance of Youth Day, and changed the race date to Sunday 17 June for 2007 and 15 June for 2008. In 2009 and 2010 the date was changed (to 24 May and 30 May respectively) to accommodate football’s Confederations Cup (2009) and World Cup (2010) in South Africa.

The 75th anniversary of the Comrades Marathon in 2000 was the largest ever staged, with a massive field of 23,961. An extra hour was allowed for bronze medal finishers to celebrate the milestone. Identical twin sisters Oelysa and Elena Nurgileva won a combined eight Comrades titles from 2003-2011, while three-time champion Stephen Muzhingi became the first non-South African winner from Africa in 2009. Stephen Muzhingi also became the first athlete to win three races in a row (2009, 2010 and 2011) since Bruce Fordyce won three in a row in the eighties (1981, 1982 and 1983). Russian runner Leonid Shvetsov set both down and up course records in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

Source: Wikipedia

Read Stephen’s Blog Posts about how he beat Shvetsov, Part 1 and Part 2

The Coveted GREEN NUMBER

Number 55925 - Muzhingi's Permanent Green Number for Comrades Marathon Muzhingi is a long-distance runner for Formula 1 Bluff Meats International club. He is the back-to-back champion of the Comrades Marathon (2009, 2010). He won the 2010 Comrades Marathon with a time of 05:29:01 – 5minutes slower than his first win in 2009. He is the first non-South African to win the Comrades and the first black man in the history of Comrades to win the up-run. In 2011, he became the first man in 23 years to win the Comrades Marathon three successive times and only the 3rd person in the 86 year history of the race to achieve 3 successive wins.

Stephen’s Results


Year Direction Age Race No Club Time Medal Overall Pos
2005 Down 29 55925 Zimbabwe 06:40:37 Silver 123
2006 Up 30 55925 Harmony Int 06:24:26 Silver 53
2007 Down 31 55925 Zimbabwe 05:40:11 Gold 7
2008 Up 32 55925 Formula 1 AC 05:39:40 Gold 3
2009 Down 33 55925 Formula 1 AC 05:23:27 Gold 1
2010 Down 34 55925 Formula 1 AC 05:29:01 Gold 1
2011 Up 35 55925 Formula 1 AC 05:32:46 Gold 1

A permanent Green Number is awarded for winning the race three times or completing 10 races.

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  • termit_bronx Jul 29, 2011 @ 9:47 am
    Stephen Muzhingi is really a great talent. It's nice to see someone so successful! Blessed!
  • Spook Jul 07, 2011 @ 4:31 pm
    I well remember Bruce Forsdyce but had never heard of Stephen. Does my heart proud for the old country.
  • Donnette Jul 08, 2011 @ 2:38 am
    Yes, I her you! When Stephen is with us as he was recently, as well as Collen Makaza, the World 50 K champ, we often chat about various places I recall as a child when I was in Salisbury - both hail from Harare.. so it does bring a little beam to my smile.. my mother's family is for the most part still there :) Thanks for visiting and commenting! Nice to get to know you.
  • Craigfry276 Jun 23, 2011 @ 12:45 pm
    This is just fantastic,, I love it, Thank you for doing this for Stephen - He seriously likes it too, Definately one of the best I have seen - Cheers Craig
  • Donnette Jun 23, 2011 @ 1:41 pm
    You are more than welcome, as is Stephen.. he has sent me some really beautiful messages and he doesn't mind having a chit-chat on the phone either :) It has been a pleasure working with and for him.

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