Durban Living Legend-Bhekizizwe William ‘Willie’ Mtolo
William Bhekizizwe ‘Willie’ Mtolo was born in 1965 in Kilmon, and grew up in Hillcrest. Mtolo is the South African running legend, a former New York Marathon winner and two time runner-up of the Comrades Marathon. He has participated in more than 23 marathons in South Africa and around the world.
He ran his first Comrades Marathon at the age of 18 where he completed the race in a respectable 6:10. Mtolo was, by then, doing some work in the gardens of Hillcrest to get extra money, and one of his employers, Kim Carlson, was to be a great source for advice and general assistance in his fledgling career. The first proper coach he had was Richard Campbell, who helped take the promising marathoner to the next level.
He has won nine marathons, including the J.S.E. Marathon 56km (1985); S.A. Marathon (1988); Ford Marathon (1988); Two Oceans Marathon (1990); and Peninsula Marathon (1990). As well as Rotterdam Marathon (1993); Kosice Marathon (1998); Macau Marathon (2000) and Hong Kong Marathon in 2001.
In 2011 Mtolo featured in a celebrity fundraising initiative which started in Gauteng and worked its way to Port Shepstone, raising funds for hospices and also highlighting the plight of those affected or infected by HIV/Aids.
Mtolo organizes charity runs for peace in the townships where Blacks were restricted under the racial policies of apartheid. He has opened his own athlete academy called Willie Athletic Club. Mtolo’s manager for many years was Ray de Vries.
“This sport has been good to me, and without it I wouldn’t be where I am today, nor would I have seen so many countries around the world,” he admitted.