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Bosman’s Comrades hopes depend on her sticking to plan
- Updated: May 26, 2016
‘Stick to my game plan . . . stick to my game plan…’ That will be the only thing last year’s runner-up, Charné Bosman, will think off as she runs the Comrades on Sunday.
According to Lindsey Parry (head coach at Tuks/HPC) Bosman could again be in contention for a top three podium finish in the women’s race, and maybe even cause a surprise, if only she keeps her cool.
Actually, if Nedbank Dream Team’s Bosman and Caroline Wöstmann (KPMG) are both on song, there could be a repeat of what happened last year when Wöstmann won with Bosman finishing second. But this time round the time gap could be much smaller.
But right now Bosman does not want to think about a possible duel with Wöstmann (KPMG) over the last 10 or so kilometres. For her it is case of first things first.
‘I have promised Lindsey that I will stick to the strategy we have planned kilometre for kilometre, no matter what the other athletes may do or not do. In the Comrades you can afford to be up to 10 minutes behind the race leaders in the early stages and still catch up. I should just remember that.
‘Last year I felt quite strong over the final few kilometres. I was surprised that I didn’t feel really tired when I finished. I have asked Lindsey to work out a plan which will enable me to race a bit more aggressively. I want to feel tired when I cross the finish line,’ said Bosman who trains at the High Performance Centre (HPC).
Who is likely to win if the race should boil down to a battle between Bosman and Wöstmann over the last kilometres? ‘I honestly cannot say. Caroline is a really tough competitor. But this I can promise, I’m not going to give up without fighting. However, it should be remembered that Comrades is a very unpredictable race. There are bound to be other athletes who will also be in contention to win, so it could be exciting.’
Bosman will venture into unknown territory on Sunday because she has never finished a Comrades ‘down-run’ (Pietermaritzburg to Durban).
She has already competed in four Comrades and remembers her first Comrades in 2013 as a case of ‘fools rushing in where angels fear to tread’. She actually did very well by finishing in fifth place, which was the best performance by a South African female athlete.
In the 2014 down-run she collapsed during the race because of a dysfunctional thyroid. She was unconscious for a few minutes and had to ‘finish’ her race in an ambulance.
‘The fact that I was not able to run the last 27 kilometres in 2014 means that I have not really experienced the downhill race. However, I have trained at Graskop for three weeks where I focused mainly on getting the hang of downhill racing.
‘Running down from Graskop to Sabie is quite a good substitute of what can be expected in Comrades. The first time I did the run my legs were quite sore the following day, but I think on my fourth attempt I got the hang of how to become an economical downhill racer.
‘I think the ‘art’ of being a good downhill racer is to focus on your running style. The secret is not to lean forward too much when running down because it puts your quads under quite a lot of strain. What works for me is to lean slightly backwards and take small steps.’
According to Bosman she is eagerly counting down the final days to the Comrades.
‘It is good to wake up every morning knowing that the kilometres I still have to run in training are getting less and less and that I can start the day on fresh legs.’
Picture courtesy of Reg Caldecott