Thursday, June 10, 2010

Claude Moshiywa – From zero to hero

By Cuan Walker

The lead runner was making his way down the notoriously killing Fields Hill in the 2010 Comrades Marathon, Claude Moshiywa from Mr Price was this man. A couple years ago though, Moshiywa was a different man, and would have probably been watching the race on TV with a beer in hand.

Born 10 October 1974 in Sebokeng, Moshiywa was brought up by his single mother and was the second born in a family of three brothers. As with most African kids growing up in South Africa, Moshiywa quickly became accustomed to soccer which was his big time sports passion. As the years went on though, drinking soon started to take over the soccer obsession and started becoming a problem. Joining First National Bank in 1995, Moshiywa would partake in the annual company relay and enjoy it but wouldn’t do any running until the following year when it was the company relay again. It was in 1998 whilst watching the Soweto Marathon from the side of the road that Moshiywa thought to himself, “I can do better than these people,” and that’s when the running bug started. By then his drinking had been a big problem and playing soccer only worsened it. He then joined the local Diepkloof running club in Soweto and it was then that his life was beginning to go for the better. Running his first Comrades in 2000, Moshiywa describes it as a life changing experience. Finishing in position 1379 in 8:04:44, who would have thought that ten years later Claude Moshiywa would be leading the ultimate human race in the world in the dying stages of the race. It’s the passion and determination that sets Claude Moshiywa aside from the rest.

Moshiywa’s breakthrough came in 2004 when he finished 16th. The following year, Moshiywa found himself lying 2nd with only 12km to go of the 89km journey but inexperience and lack of pacing caught up to him. “I remember thinking to myself where is the finish, I just wanted it to be over,” as Moshiywa started to drop back but still finished in the top 10 gold’s with an 8th position, a far cry from his debut on 5 years before. With other great success such as a 4th place finish in the 2007 Two Oceans Marathon, Moshiywa’s life has definitely changed, and for the better. In the 2010 Comrades Marathon, Moshiywa made his break for victory from far out and that challenge lasted to 13km to go. With flashbacks from the 2005 race, Moshiywa started dropping back but still hung on for 7th place finish and yet another Comrades gold medal. “It’s my dream to win it,” says Moshiywa. And that dream will come true one day.

What sets Moshiywa apart from all the other gold medalists is also the fact that he is not a fulltime runner but holds down a stressful job as a stores controller for FNB. Time management is Moshiywa’s greatest obstacle in the quest for success. “Basically I sacrifice a lot of my leisure time as during my lunch hour I will train and then also train again after work when its already dark.” A Family man with 2 kids, Moshiywa manages to somehow find the time to please everyone. Moshiywa loves gospel music and his favorite food is pap, pasta and chicken from Nandos.

Will Claude Moshiywa be leading once again in the dying stages of the 2011 Comrades Marathon? Only time will tell, but you can guarantee that this time, it will be all the way to the finish.