Gallant Gelant faces a road test
SA STAR TO RUN CAPE TOWN MARATHON East Africans will be the ones to beat in the Peninsula.
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.