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THE TOP RUNNER

A behind the scenes look at South African athletics

 

Dibaba to run Absa RYC Cape Town 10k as Daniel Ebenyo arrives to defend his title

Like a soldier readying himself for battle, Daniel Simui Ebenyo was a picture of focus when he walked into the SunSquare hotel in the City Bowl for this weekend's Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10k. A man of few words, the Kenyan is the favourite to win tomorrow's race following a good start to the year that saw him run 26:58 for 10km in January in Valencia. Asked about the secret to his running success, the man who the race when it was a 12km last year says there is no secret

'The speed is still there!' - Gelant to use Absa RYC as part of training to run new SA 5000m record

Elroy Gelant has revealed that he is unlikely to run a marathon again in a while. The man who was the only South African man to finish last year's Olympic Marathon in 2:16:43 after the hot and humid conditions got the better of Stephen Mokoka and Desmond Mokgobu says he intends to spend 2022 focusing on the shorter distances. And after placing second behind Mbuleli Mthanga in the 10 000m (28:25.32) at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships a fortnight ago, the 5000m na

"Nothing has changed. Akani hasn't changed." - Simbine ready to defend national 100m title today

Despite a sluggish start to the season that saw him beaten by Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala at last week's ASA Grand Prix Series Meet in Germiston, Akani Simbine remains confident that 2022 will be a great year. The South African 100m record holder who had already clocked 9.99 by the same time last year, could only manage 10.11 seconds at the World Tour Challenger event in Gauteng as the Kenyan ran 9.98. But as the two-time Olympic finalist prepares to defend his 100m title at t

Steyn to donate Totalsports Two Oceans course record bonus to athletics development programmes

South African road running queen Gerda Steyn claimed a record-breaking third consecutive Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon title in Cape Town this Sunday. After winning the last edition of the run back in 2019 Steyn returned as the post-pandemic defending champion looking to add the the trio of victories which started in 2018. "I'm feeling very happy. First of all, to win to race, it is tough to come back as the defending champion. You get reminded every day and everywhere you

"I want to defend my Two Oceans title" - Gelant ready to face Mokoka and Mokgobu in TOM 21km

After being the only South African man to finish last year's Olympic Marathon (2:16:43), Elroy Gelant says he wants to focus on the shorter distances again for a while. That 34th place finish in hot and humid conditions in Sapporo (800km north of Tokyo) took it's toll on the 35-year old who told #TheTopRunner that he is unlikely to race 42km in 2022. It means that one of his main aims for the year is to do well over the half marathon distance which begins with winning the Tot

"I was overweight," KZNA champ Anaso Jobodwana reflects on 2021, says 2022 will be great!

It's hard to believe that it's been almost ten years since Anaso Jobodwana gave Usain Bolt that cheeky smile on his way to becoming South Africa's first ever World Championship 200m medalist. At just 23 years old at the time, the Eastern Cape born self-taught American-trained sprinter filled our hearts with hope of a future punctuated with Olympic medals. Instead the road from that bronze medal in 2015 has been a difficult one where injury and personal challenges have left ma

More depth needed to produce world class female athletes as Nel dominates U19 400m hurdles

The lack of top class female performers in both the junior and senior ranks in South African athletics is a cause for serious concerns that requires urgent intervention. That just 4 of the 34 member Olympic team that represented the country at #Tokyo2021 were women, highlights a problem that is even more serious when one considers that only one of those four women took part in a track event. Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Wenda Theron Nel was that athlete, but at 33 year

Steyn joins Adidas as new Brand Ambassador

South Africa's most loved marathon athlete has swapped Nike for Adidas. After beginning her relationship with the swoosh brand when she joined the Nedbank Running Club six years ago, the national marathon record holder (2:25:28) Gerda Steyn announced in January that she would not be rejoining The Green Machine in 2022. It has now been confirmed that the 2019 Comrades Marathon champion is the latest asset to join the Three Stripes as an ambassador. And Steyn is living her drea

Cross Country key to Cian Oldknow's PB success

The dearth of world class female middle runners athletes has been cause for serious concern in South African athletics over the last decade. Although American-based Dominique Scott donned the green and gold when she raced the 5 000m and 10 000m at #Tokyo2021, with the exception of Caster Semenya, Rene Kalmer was the last locally trained woman to represent the country on the track at an Olympics when she ran the 1500m in Beijing at the 2008 Games. Thankfully there seems to be

'Respect your time' - Sub 27 minute 10km Ebenyo's advice to social runners aiming for PB's

This time last week Daniel Simiu Ebenyo was celebrating a new 10km personal best. The man who stunned Kenyans when he qualified for their #Tokyo2021 Olympic team ahead of some more illustrious names, ran a sizzling 26:58 to win the 10K Valencia Ibercaja. His first sub 27 minute clocking catapulted the 26-year old to seventh on the world all-time list, just 30 seconds slower than Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei. And while his performance may have surprised many, t

'I had this dream to go to the Olympics but God had this other plan' - Paralympian Anika Pretorius

"It starts with believing in your dreams - for yourself." These was Anika Pretorius' words when she spent some time motivating youngsters during a coaching clinic in Carltonville last week. The two-time Paralympian who grew up on Gauteng's West Rand and attended Laerskool Dagbreek had been invited by the Champions Athletics Club to share her inspirational message with the club's athletes and their parents, where she poured out her heart about what it takes to succeed - especi

'I just tell myself to finish the session and you must pray - ask God to help you' - Precious Molepo

Precious Molepo will be one of the athletes to watch when the athletics programme gets underway at the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games which kicked off on Friday. South Africa's 120 member strong team began arriving in the Lesotho capital last week where athletics and swimming are expected to feature strongly for Team SA on the medals table. Having reached the final of the 400m at World Athletics U20 Championships in Kenya in August, sixteen year old

'I feel proud for finishing' - Irvette van Zyl after winning Nelson Mandela Bay 1 City Marathon

Irvette van Zyl described her first 42,2km outing since failing to complete the Olympic Marathon in August as 'very sour lemonade.' The two-time Olympian had been scheduled to run the Valenica Marathon in Spain, but was unable to honour her invitation after the discovery of the new Covid19 Omicron variant led to many European countries banning South Africans from entering their borders. But van Zyl managed to turn lemons in lemonade as she gritted her teeth to win the Nelson

'Athletics has so much room to make things happen' - BackTrack Sports announce new athletics awards

As difficult as 2021 has been for the sports industry in general, South African athletes, administrators, coaches and several other key role players worked hard to ensure that athletics in the country reopened after the 2020 calendar was basically wiped clean by Covid19. Although the lack of competition last year resulted in Team SA failing to win an athletics Olympic medal at #Tokyo2021 for the first time in the nation's post-Apartheid history, there were many encouraging pe

'Today is not tomorrow and tomorrow is not today' - battle lines are drawn ahead of Cape Town 12k

"You win or you you die," were Morris Gachaga's words when asked about his approach to tomorrow's Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN. Having won it's last running in 2019, the Kenyan is the defending champion and a three-time winner of the race, which makes him the favourite to triumph again on Sunday. But the man who ran 2:05:09 at last month's Paris Marathon will face stiff competition not only from some of his countrymen who have joined him on the trip from East Africa to The Moth

'Sports is life. You can make a life for yourself out of sports' - Neheng who lives 500km from coach

This time last week Khatala Neheng was celebrating a new personal best after clocking 32:18 to finish as the runner-up at the Absa DURBAN 10k CITY RUN. In finishing second to the exciting young Tayla Kavanagh, the runner from Lesotho raised a few eyebrows because her new mark came just over two months after racing the Olympic Marathon in hot and humid conditions in Japan. Speaking to the television cameras after the race, her coach Andrew Booyens admitted to being pleasantly

'The journey was hard but I’ve learned a lot. I sleep well these days' - Ramaala nominated for GSA

“I think I’ve figured it out!” Exclaimed the Entsika Athletic Club coach during an interview with #TheTopRunner. Hendrik Ramaala was sharing his eureka moment in response to a question about the transition from elite athlete to coach. Although he is better known for winning the 2004 New York Marathon, Ramaala is now gaining prominence as a coach after guiding Precious Mashele and Desmond Mokgobu to Olympic qualification and their debut appearance at #Tokyo2021. His efforts ha

Urithi starts on road to develop future champions with sub 30 minute 10km challenge

As the lack of world South African class middle distance continues to be a matter for serious concern, one group of social runners have decided to do something about an issue that is giving administrators sleepless nights. Disappointed by the fact that only Precious Mashele managed to qualify for a middle distance event at #Tokyo2021, Urithi Athletics Club have launched a series of races which are aimed at unearthing the next generation of top runners. "This is the second edi

Mphahlele says Mashele inspired him as he prepares to qualify for Oregon 2022 World Champs 1500m

Ryan Mphahelele says in qualifying for the Olympic Games on home soil, Precious Mashele inspired up and coming locally-based athletes by showing them that middle distance runners do not necessarily have to go to Europe to run qualifying times for major championships. The 1500m and 5 000m man was one of a few top runners who were enlisted by Athletics South Africa to pace Mashele to the 13:11.65 5 000m effort that saw him book his spot at #Tokyo2021 on the very last day of the

'We need more role models that come from kasi' - Phora as he gives back

One of the most important arguments to emerge from the recent social media furore surrounding the racial makeup of South Africa's Olympic team, was the need for grassroots development of promising junior athletes. And while Team SA failed to produce an athletics medal at #Tokyo2021 for the first time in the nation's post-Apartheid history, Thapelo Phora remains positive about the wealth of talent that lies undiscovered in the country's townships. "Honestly I think the youngst

 

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