Gal­lant Ge­lant faces a road test

SA STAR TO RUN CAPE TOWN MARATHON East Africans will be the ones to beat in the Penin­sula.

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT - Wes­ley Bo on

Ad­mit­ting he is both ner­vous and ex­cited ahead of his marathon de­but this week­end, El­roy Ge­lant is ea­ger to lay a solid foun­da­tion for a po­ten­tial medal charge at ma­jor in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onships over the next few years.

The for­mer track spe­cial­ist, who set the SA 5 000m record of 13:04.88 in Hen­gelo last sea­son, bat­tled with a pro­tein de­fi­ciency ear­lier this year af­ter at­tend­ing a train­ing camp in Kenya, and he opted to scrap his in­ter­na­tional track sea­son in or­der to fo­cus on his first 42.2km race at to­mor­row’s San­lam Cape Town Marathon.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing some ad­vice from for­mer marathon star Elana Meyer, a Cape Town Marathon am­bas­sador, the 31-year-old ath­lete hoped his maiden marathon at­tempt would open the door for him to chase the podium at next year’s Com­mon­wealth Games in Gold Coast and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I just want to use it as a step­ping-stone to see if I can do it, in terms of think­ing ahead and see­ing where I am go­ing for­ward,” Ge­lant said.

“If ev­ery­thing goes well and I am able to qual­ify, then I want to try and go to the Com­mon­wealth Games in the marathon be­cause I might stand a chance of get­ting a medal there.”

Ge­lant, who fin­ished 13th in a per­sonal best of 1:01:10 at the World Half-Marathon Cham­pi­onships in Copen­hagen in 2014, was ex­pected to lead the lo­cal con­tin­gent against an East African jug­ger­naut at the IAAF Gold La­bel road race.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Asefa Mengstu of Ethiopia was the favourite af­ter win­ning last year in 2:08:41, clock­ing the fastest time ever run on a stan­dard marathon course in South Africa.

In the women’s race, Tish Jones of Great Bri­tain was pre­par­ing to de­fend her ti­tle af­ter se­cur­ing a sur­prise vic­tory last year in 2:36:13.

Irvette van Zyl is the favourite among the lo­cal women.

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

EL­ROY GE­LANT

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