July 20, 2024

South African Olympians prepare for Paris at Absa Run Your City Durban 10km

DURBAN – Olympians Elroy Gelant (37) and Stephen Mokoka (39) plan to use the Absa Run Your City 10km races in Durban on Sunday as a crucial step in finalising their preparations for the Olympic Marathon that takes place in Paris on 10 August.

Blistering times are expected whenthe cream of the crop of Africa’sleading distance runners battles it out on a fast and flat route in what is expected to be ideal weather conditions. 

The race, the second in the series of five in the Absa-series starts at Masabalala Yengwa Avenue at 08:00 and ends on the Golden Mile on the Durban Beachfront. (TV SS9 07:50)

“I have done well to prepare for this race. So I’m praying for good weather conditions in order to have a solid performance,” said Gelant. 

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Already a two-time Olympian, Gelant will compete in his second Olympic marathon next month. This year, he has been in outstanding form, achieving lifetime best times over 42.2km and 10km. His impressive 27:54 finish for second place at the Absa Run Your City Cape Town 10K in May made him South Africa’s sixth athlete to break the 28-minute barrier for 10km on home soil.

Although he is one of the contenders to win the race on Sunday, the Boxer Athletics Club top runner says he must be a little cautious ahead of his third Olympic appearance.

“I’m not aiming for a very fast time or to dip under 28 minutes like in Cape Town. If I could produce 28:10 or 28:20, I’d be much happier.

“I don’t want to go hard as it might mess with my marathon which is in five weeks’ time. This race is crucial for building the final strength needed ahead of the Olympics. It’s all about striking the balance so I don’t end up coming to the Olympics with fatigue.”

Keneth Kiprop and Stephen Mokoka Photo: Absa RYC Series

Gelant will take on fellow Olympic marathoner Mokoka as well as SA 10km record holder (27:35) Precious Mashele and the race’s defending champion Kabelo Mulaudzi.

Mokoka, who will be participating in his fourth Olympics in Paris, says Sunday’s race will be a good fitness test to see where he is at with his preparations. 

“The race over the weekend will tell me where I stand regarding my fitness. Everything is currently looking very positive. The goal is just to finish the marathon and improve on my previous Olympic performances,” says Mokoka.

In the women’s race all eyes will be on Judith Kiyeng. Now 30 years old, the women who represented Kenya over 1500m at the 2016 African Championships in Durban, has stepped up in distance and is proving to be a more than useful 10km runner.

Judith Kiyeng Glenrose Xaba and-Neheng Khatala by Absa RUN YOUR CITY

In just her first year as a 10km athlete, the East African ran 31:10 to win the 2022 Kiprun Race 10km in Lille, France – a mark which remains her personal best. In coming to the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K Kiyeng, who trains alongside Faith Kipyegon, is aiming to dip under 31 minutes for the first time.

“I’m hoping to run a good race on Sunday and to improve my time – maybe to run under 31 seconds. If my body responds well on Sunday, I know it’s possible,” said Kiyeng.

South Africa’s Glenrose Xaba who broke 32 minutes for only the second time in her career just two weeks ago will lead the South African charge, while Lesotho’s Neheng Khatala who took second at the Absa RYC Cape Town 10K in May is targeting another podium finish.

 

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