The Citizen (KZN)

Xaba planning for a marathon

- Wesley Bo on

Capet Town – Though she still has ambitions on the track, distance runner Glenrose Xaba (above) is planning to turn out in her highly anticipate­d marathon debut “soon”, according to her coach Violet Semenya.

Xaba, who will represent South Africa at the World Cross Country Championsh­ips in Belgrade this weekend, showed her form yesterday, winning the Spar Grand Prix 10km race in Cape Town in 32:17. She became the first South African athlete in six years to win a Grand Prix race, crossing the finish line just 22 seconds outside her personal best.

And though she still hopes to have a crack at the Olympic qualifying time of 30:40 on the track, in an attempt to book her place in the 10 000m for the Olympics in August, Xaba is also thinking of tackling her first race over the 42km distance in the near future.

Holding personal bests of 31:55 over 10km and 1:08:37 over 21km, Xaba seems destined to become a quality marathon runner. Short and stocky, she is better suited to longer distances, and she should be able to challenge the national marathon record of 2:24:03 held by Gerda Steyn once she’s got some experience over 42km.

“Glenrose is getting better, and she’s hungry for success. She doesn’t just want to win but she also wants to run fast,” said Semenya, who is married to legend Caster Semenya.

“We still believe she can run under 31 minutes in the 10 000m, and we’re hoping she will qualify for the Olympics, but she’s 29 now so she must graduate (to the marathon). I don’t want to disclose our plans but it will happen soon.”

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