Marathon man Elroy

Ge­lant to make de­but in Cape Town epic, tar­get­ing 2:10 and medals

Pretoria News Weekend - - SPORT - OCKERT VILLIERS

ELROY Ge­lant, has al­ready made a deep im­pres­sion in South African track and field and hopes to make an even big­ger one when he makes his de­but in the 42.2-kilo­me­tre dis­tance at next week’s San­lam Cape Town Marathon.

The South African 5,000m record-holder has tasted suc­cess over var­i­ous dis­tances and at age 31 has de­cided the time is right to make his foray into the marathon.

The seeds were planted when Ge­lant ran as a pace­maker in last year’s race with for­mer world half-marathon record holder Elana Meyer giv­ing him a push.

“I felt it was the right time be­cause I am in the prime of my run­ning ca­reer … and there were a few things that led to the de­ci­sion,” Ge­lant said.

“I am also do­ing it with an eye on next year’s Com­mon­wealth Games in Aus­tralia, and my goal is to win a medal there, and I feel I stand a good chance of do­ing just that.”

A 5,000m fi­nal­ist at both the World Cham­pi­onships and the Olympic Games, Ge­lant may be bet­ter known for his abil­i­ties in the shorter track dis­tance but he has shown im­mense po­ten­tial in the long-dis­tance events.

He fin­ished 13th at the 2014 World Half-Marathon Cham­pi­onships where he posted a per­sonal best time of 61,10 min.

“The rea­son for mak­ing my de­but at the San­lam Cape Town Marathon is be­cause I am fa­mil­iar with the lo­cal con­di­tions, I know the weather, the run­ning sur­faces, and the prepa­ra­tions,” Ge­lant said.

“You also have the sup­port on the side of the road so I’m hop­ing for a de­cent de­but.”

Ge­lant will take a mea­sured ap­proach when he lines up in his maiden marathon as he aims to cross the line around two hours and 10 min­utes. Last year Ethiopia’s Asefa Mengstu Negewo broke the long-stand­ing South African all-com­ers record post­ing a win­ning time of 2:08:42 to shave more than a minute off David Tsebe’s time of 2:09:50 he set in Port El­iz­a­beth in 1990. Negewo is set to line up once again while Kenya’s La­ban Mu­tai, who boasts a per­sonal best of 2.08:01 he set in Koln, Ger­many, has also been added to the field. “I’ve set my­self a tar­get of 2:10 which I think would be a good pace to start with. I’ll use it as a step­ping-stone and see where I end up,” Ge­lant said. “Then hope­fully, if San­lam works out, next year after the Com­mon­wealth Games I can go for big­ger in­ter­na­tional marathons.

“I’ve been quite pa­tient and now that I have turned 31 this year I thought I am strong enough to take on the marathon.”

The for­mer World Student Games bronze medal­list spent some time gain­ing valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence at an al­ti­tude train­ing camp in Kenya where he got to rub shoul­ders with some of the best long-dis­tance run­ners.

Ge­lant said the time there had taught him about de­ter­mi­na­tion and dis­ci­pline from the Kenyan ath­letes.

“There are def­i­nitely some nerves since I started pre­par­ing for the marathon but what has been good is that I have kept my train­ing sim­i­lar to what I have al­ways done,” he ex­plained. “I’ve fo­cused a bit more on my long runs where I have added kilo­me­tre mileage ev­ery two weeks.

“Ev­ery time I have in­creased the dis­tance it has added to the ex­cite­ment.”

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