Dur­ban’s new 10km run made for records, says Ge­lant

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS

PLAN­NING a fast and flat route, FNB Dur­ban 10K CITYSURFRUN organisers be­lieve the in­au­gu­ral race on the South African east coast could be among the fastest events each year.

The 10km race was added to the Run Your City se­ries which in­cludes the Cape Town 12 ONERUN and the Joburg 10K CITYRUN.

While marathons and ul­tra-dis­tance races such as the Com­rades Marathon have dom­i­nated the lo­cal road run­ning scene, shorter dis­tances such as the 10km are grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity here.

Look­ing to at­tract top-class in­ter­na­tional fields with big prize money, they also of­fer lo­cal dis­tance ath­letes an op­por­tu­nity to make their mark against some of the world’s best run­ners.

Speak­ing at the launch of the Dur­ban event, national 5000m record holder El­roy Ge­lant said he be­lieves these races will lift the stan­dard of dis­tance events shorter than marathons and ul­tra.

“These races play a role in de­vel­op­ment, as nowa­days in South Africa we are more fo­cussed on longer dis­tances like the Two Oceans and Com­rades,” Ge­lant said.

“So this is a plat­form for the younger guys to par­tic­i­pate… I al­ways see my­self as a Haile Ge­brse­lassie, who has run from 1500m right through to marathon and he has al­ways been my idol.

“We need to be up there to be an ex­am­ple to the younger guys by fo­cus­ing on the shorter dis­tances.”

The Cape Town event has at­tracted some top dis­tance ath­letes in­clud­ing in­au­gu­ral win­ners in four-time world cham­pion Vi­vian Cheruiyot and Em­manuel Bett of Kenya.

The Dur­ban race is ex­pected to at­tract an equally strong field on Oc­to­ber 8 with Ge­lant pre­dict­ing fast times.

“Run­ning against top ath­letes like the Kenyans brings out the best in us. If you look at last year’s Cape Town race, Stephen Mokoka and I hanged out with these guys with Stephen go­ing on to win the race,” Ge­lant said.

“If you look at Stephen’s PB of 27:38 (SA 10km record) I think we can re­ally push for a faster time, prob­a­bly around 27.34 for Dur­ban.

“It is re­ally a good plat­form for us to go for good times at home and not hav­ing to go over­seas to get good times there.”

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