Updated: May 26, 2015

Charne Bosman is hoping for a solid performance in KwaZulu-Natal this weekend (photo credit: Reg Caldecott)

Having paid her dues over the last couple of years, Charne Bosman says she will not let other athletes dictate her pace on Sunday, in her third successive attempt at the Comrades Marathon.
Bosman joins a strong SA women’s contingent at the 87.72km ultra-marathon between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, including Caroline Wostmann, who won the 56km Two Oceans in Cape Town in April, Riana van Niekerk, the winner of the 50km Om die Dam in Hartbeespoort in March, and five-time gold medallist Yolande Maclean, who is returning to Comrades after an eight-year hiatus.
They will square off against an international line-up spearheaded by Nurgalieva twins Elena and Olesya, who gave Two Oceans a miss this year to focus on the longer event.
If Elena secures victory she will match the record of nine Comrades wins held by Bruce Fordyce.
“I am not going to allow the Russians, or any other athlete for that matter, to steal my energy,” Bosman says.
After finishing fifth on debut in 2013, crossing the line as the first South African woman home, she believes there is still significant room for improvement.
“It was quite an experience. I did everything wrong,” she admits.
“For example, I had no race-plan. I just ran according to how I felt and that turned out to be a big mistake.”
She regretted making the novice error of running too hard in the first half, rather than saving her energy for the latter stages of the race.
“I was also clueless about the Comrades route. I only found out where Fields Hill was when a fellow athlete told me.
“It was at Fields Hill where I started making mistakes. I ran at a pace of four minutes per kilometre (4:00) when I should in fact have run at 4:20.
“When I got to the 60km marker my legs were dead. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I am no quitter.
“Luckily I recovered towards the end of the race.”
If she was disappointed with her maiden attempt, however, last year’s event was an unmitigated disaster.
Bosman collapsed during the race because of a dysfunctional thyroid, and she was unconscious for a few minutes as her race ended in the back of an ambulance.
Cleared by the doctor this week to compete again in the prestigious annual ultra-distance spectacle, Bosman says her preparation has gone well under the guidance of High Performance Centre coach Lindsey Parry, who also assists Wostmann.
“During the short time that Lindsey has been coaching me he has made me realise the importance of sticking to a definite training plan, as well as a definite race plan,” she says.
“Every kilometre I have run in preparation for the Comrades has been carefully planned by Lindsey with a sound motivation as to why I am doing it.
“For Comrades he has worked out a definite race strategy and I know that if I stick to it I am bound to have a good race. My main goal is have a strong finish.”