Tragic news struck the South African running community as reigning Two Oceans Half Marathon champion Mbuleli Mathanga was discovered deceased in the early hours of Thursday morning in Ndwedwe, north of Durban.
Police have confirmed that they have opened an inquest docket as they found Mathanga hanging from the laces of his running shoes inside his girlfriend’s room. According to Ndwedwe police, it is alleged that the couple had an argument, and the 29-year-old athlete had an open wound at the back of his head.
Mathanga, known for his remarkable running talent, was due to participate in the Hollywoodbets Durban 10km race scheduled for the upcoming Sunday. He had previously earned the South African 10,000m champion title in 2021 and 2022. Additionally, he proudly represented South Africa at the African Championships in Mauritius in 2022 and the world cross-country championships in Australia earlier this year.
Throughout his career, Mathanga achieved numerous accolades, including victories like the Inkamana 10km in Vryheid in February 2022, the 2019 Gun Run 10km in Cape Town, and the Durban 15km in 2018. Most recently, he triumphed in the 2023 Two Oceans Half Marathon, completing the race at 1:03:58.
Mathanga also left his mark on the international stage. He secured a third-place finish in the Roma-Ostia half-marathon in October 2021. Additionally, he held the KwaZulu-Natal 5,000m and 10,000m records, solidifying his status as a prominent figure in South African athletics.
The Two Oceans Marathon confirmed the news of his sudden and tragic passing on its social media account. Organisers expressed their condolences, stating, “It is with deep sadness that we have been notified that our 2023 Half Marathon champion, Mbuleli Mathanga, has passed away this morning. Our thoughts, prayers, and heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, running mates, and Phantane club mates at this deeply challenging time.”
Picture: X / 2OceansMarathon
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