SA running legend Zola Budd is back in the country to tackle two firsts – The Two Oceans Marathon and the Comrades Marathon, and like her advice to fellow first-timers, she is taking Bruce Fordyce’s advice to focus on finishing. Photo: Supplied

US-based South African running legend, Zola Budd, is in the country to prepare to run her first Comrades Marathon. Her big test comes this weekend when she tackles her first Two Oceans Marathon in the Western Cape.

She told gsport: “I was at the Two Oceans and Comrades expos last year and I felt like I needed to enter both of these iconic South African races. I’ve never run this far in my life! I am nervous, yet excited to see how my body will hold up.

Budd is focussed on building discipline, and conserving energy, as she sets out to take on South Africa’s two most iconic races for the first time. Photo: Supplied“I’ll definitely have to be very disciplined and pace myself very carefully. I have to stick to my planned time (about 4 hours 30-45mintes) in order to save my body.”

“The Two Oceans will be a non-competitive race for me – for that matter so will the Comrades. Bruce (Fordyce) warned me that your goal for your first Comrades should just be to finish it.”

Zola will be running the Two Oceans for The Unlimited, a financial services provider, the same company that sponsors the Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Zola says: “In everything it does, this company is creating opportunities for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things.”

Her advice to first time runners is: “Don’t push yourself too hard at Two Oceans, especially if you are using it as a training race for Comrades. You body won’t be able to handle the stress of Comrades in June if you decide to race Two Oceans now.”

Zola is based in South Carolina, USA, where she lives with her husband and three children. When asked why she is passionate about running, she says “I run for me – for relaxation, for me time.”

She advises women that they need to make time for their own dreams. “If you want to start running, the first step is to commit to the time.

“Set out three hours per week and let everyone know – firstly for support and secondly to make sure that they don’t bother you. You need to be a bit selfish. Although it’s more difficult when you have kids, they quickly learn to respect your time.

“That’s why I stopped running competitively. When your kids are little it is very difficult to find the time to train. It’s not easy to find the three hours for a long run! But as they grow up, it becomes easier and that’s why I feel that I am ready to face this new challenge.

“For a while I was a full-time mom and then I became involved with Newton running shoes and started doing promotional work for them.”

Keen to ask Zola fitness related questions? Log on to, or follow her on twitter @UnlimitedZola