Fast times ex­pected with classy field on flat course

Saturday Star - - SPORT - DAR­RYN POL­LOCK dar­ryn.pol­lock@inl.co.za

DUR­BAN: To­mor­row’s fi­nal leg of the Run Your City Se­ries sees a classy and explosive field lined up here for the Ci­ty­surfrun.

The race will fea­ture both the men’s and women’s de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, Joshua Chep­tegei, pic­tured, and Mer­cy­line Che­lan­gat, who will be ea­ger to re­tain their ti­tles.

Dur­ban’s flat course that be­gins in the shadow of 2010 Fifa World Cup venue, Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium, is the per­fect play­ground for some top class in­ter­na­tional and South African ath­letes to try and set a su­per fast 10km time.

Uganda’s Chep­tegei is one run­ner worth the price of ad­mis­sion to watch as the 22-year-old won last year’s edi­tion in 27min 28sec for the fourth fastest time in the world in 2017 and the fastest ever on South African soil.

While that was last year, Chep­tegei has been in fine form in 2018, win­ning both the men’s 5000m and 10 000m ti­tles at the Com­mon­wealth Games in Bris­bane in April. How­ever, a knee in­jury has kept him out of ac­tion for four months.

“But the knee is fine now and I am keen to race again,” said Chep­tegei

“This was a test for me and I am re­ally happy with the re­sult and my fit­ness, so Dur­ban will be ex­cit­ing – I want to beat my time from last year. I think a 27:20 or bet­ter is very pos­si­ble if the con­di­tions play along.”

In the women’s race, it is an­other Ugan­dan who is the one to watch as Che­lan­gat’s win­ning time last year was the sec­ond fastest ever on South African soil, com­ing in at 31:38.

“I am ex­cited to be back in Dur­ban,” she said. “I had a re­ally good race last year and I want to keep my ti­tle and go faster.

“Train­ing shows me that I am in re­ally good shape and should be able to go bet­ter.

“With Stella [Ch­e­sang] there, I know it will be a tough race and she will make it hard for me to de­fend my ti­tle,” added Che­lan­gat.

There are also two well-known South African woman ath­letes who will be tak­ing to the course look­ing to im­press, Irvette van Zyl and Two Oceans Marathon win­ner Gerda Steyn.

“Since I started run­ning again af­ter the birth of my sec­ond son in July, I have been re­ally ex­cited about how well I have been per­form­ing and feel that a sub-32 is on the cards for me,” van Zyl said.

“The time bonuses on of­fer make it even more of a target for me, and with the two Ugan­dans in the field, I know that a fast race will be very likely.”

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