For the first time in three years since the Covid pandemic, the ‘Ultimate Human Race’ was held. At SweepSouth we love inspiring stories, especially the courageous achievements of this year’s Comrades Marathon’s winners. From humble beginnings to present day controversy, this year was one of the most heartfelt, and emotional races.
Tete Dijana won the 95th Comrades Marathon in an inspiring feat. South African runner and security guard at the North West University, defied the odds and touched down at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban in a remarkable time of 5 hours, 30 minutes, and 35 seconds.
The 34-year-old was among the country’s favourites, given his previous run at the Nedbank Runified 50 km race in Gqeberha where he came second behind world record breaker Stephen Mokoka. Dijana could not believe his achievement, saying he couldn’t believe “that it’s me who won the Comrades Marathon,” during a media briefing. This year’s race was downhill from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
A well-Deserved Reward
This win was a life changer for the security guard; in his last marathon race, he came 50th. This time around he walked away with the gold medal and a prize of R260 000. The excitement surrounding Dijana’s victory was further extended as his employer additionally awarded him with a bonus of R100 000 and a month of fully paid leave for his much-needed recovery.
Dijana Making Everyone Proud
Mi7 National group director, Collin David, stated that the reward is recognition of his outstanding first-place finish in the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon. “As a company, and as an industry as a whole, we are not only extremely proud, but also in awe of the tireless dedication, perseverance, and diligence accomplishing this feat required,” David said.
He also mentioned that Dijana had submitted a formal request for unpaid leave earlier this year in May, stating it was for personal responsibilities. The Mi7 guarding supervisors approved the request, only later finding out about his training in June.
Thereafter, when the security guard was contacted by his employers, his only request was that his position at the North West University remain unchanged upon his return.
The R100 000 bonus consists of a R50 000 cash component payable immediately, and a R50 000 fund at Dijana’s disposal for future training he may require. When speaking about his future, the runner said he planned to balance his current job with his running career and commitments.
Dijana’s Future Plans
Tete vows to balance his job and his God-given talent. He also stated that the money will change his life and the lives of his children aged 2 and 6 years old.
“I will have to balance my job and the talent that God gave me,” he stated during a media briefing. “I plan to build a house with a portion of the money,” he also expressed, later adding that he will be looking for the help of a financial advisor for managing the money.
In the women’s category, winner Alexandra Morozova from Russia was incredibly thrilled that she was allowed to take part in the race, with no negative feelings towards the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) following her initial ban from the competition.
A Hard-Fought Victory
Morozova was allowed to compete after she won an urgent court application at the Pietermaritzburg High Court to be allowed to run in the race. This was after her registration was withdrawn by the CMA, saying it was acting upon the instruction of World Athletics, who called for Russian elite athletes that could win prize money to be barred from entering any affiliated races due to the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
This was Morozova’s fourth Comrades Marathon and her first win, and she stated happily that she received a lot of support from South Africans. “I waited for the victory for a very long time, and this year was my year to win.”
She won in a time of 6 hours, 17 minutes, and 48 seconds.
Due to her background, she was initially denied taking home the prize money of R260 000 – this was going to be contested in court in November. However, Morozova’s lawyer stated an agreement has now been reached with the Association.
Following a letter by Morozova and her lawyer asking the CMA to consider settling the matter and paying her the winnings, Morozova’s lawyer said, “We received an email from them proposing that yes, they accept and recognise her victory. Subject to the anti-doping tests coming back with the all clear, which takes three or four days, they will then pay her prize money along with the rest for the prize winners,” stated Leathers.
Emotions were certainly running high at this year’s Comrades Marathon! The competition was also streamed on Showmax which allowed for great publicity. Comrades legend Bruce Fordyce stated to viewers that he felt “privileged” to have been the one to commentate on the last race which was highly charged and full of passion and enthusiasm, after such a long hiatus. The 2022 Comrades Marathon saw the participation of over 2000 contestants from abroad – most came from the UK, India, and Brazil, while closer to home there were contestants from Zimbabwe and Eswatini.
We hope that this story leaves you as inspired as we are at SweepSouth. You can find inspiring stories and much more on our blog. Better yet, while you’re enjoying an article or simply relaxing, let us give your home a clean so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy.