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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'Absa RYC improving standard of distance running in SA' - Gelant as he talks Paris Olympic Marathon

Elroy Gelant believes that the contribution being made by the Absa RUN YOUR CITY series will have long lasting effects on middle and long distance running in South Africa. The national 5000m record holder was speaking after taking a hard-fought second position during last month's Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon during which Thabang Mosiako delivered surge after punishing surge to try and break up the lead bunch. Although Mosiako would end up in fourth place, Gelant noted that the 28-year-old had grown in strength and confidence since breaking 28 minutes over 10km at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K.


"You can see the importance of the Absa 10K's" he told #TheTopRunner while catching his breath moment after completing the 21km race in 1:04:05. "I think Thabang ran a 27:52 in PE and the guy from Zim (Wellington Varevi) ran 28:07. They were driving the pace because of the leg speed they gained as well as the confidence they took from the Absa races. It shows the importance of the shorter races going into the longer races."

South Africa's top runners at the start of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBRUG 10K last September which was won by Nicholas Seoposengwe. Photo Credit: Anthony Grote.

As the national record holder over 5000m (13:04.88) who boasts a 2:10:31 42,2km best, the 36-year-old is well-paced to understand the importance of having speed over the shorter distances in order to succeed over the marathon. It is for that reason that he continues to race the 10km distance - because he still has designs on representing South Africa at what would be a third Olympics (in Paris this time over the marathon).


"There's basically no time until next year's Olympics because Tokyo felt like it was last year." said the man who was 33rd in Japan in 2:16:43 after enduring the hot and humid conditions. "I'm definitely going back to the marathon again and I'm looking at a marathon at the end of the year. I think I've gained sufficient speed to run the marathon really well. I will try to qualify, it needs experience because in Tokyo things didn't work out according to what I wanted so I needed that experience," he explained.


Precious Mashele on his way to breaking the national 10km record at the inaugural Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K, flanked by Kenya's Denis Kipngetich who was fourth (28:01) and Zimbabwe's Welligton Varevi who took sixth position in the colours of the Nedbank Running Club. Photo Credit: Tobias Ginsberg.

It means that the Boxer Athletic Club top runner will be out to test his speed when he takes on the Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K on Sunday, hoping that like Mosiako it will help him to get strong for his attempt at Olympic qualification. And having placed eleventh at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K - his fastest 10km clocking since 2017, Gelant will be confident of getting close to his 28:18 10km lifetime best as he continues to build towards #Paris2024.


"I still ran a 28:25 at the Absa GQEBERHA 10K with a bit of a sore calf. It was my best time in a long time and my calf was so sore. So the first 2km I was way back going through in about 5:50. So I had to come from behind because of the calf. So only after 3km did I start to move. But that was because of the preparations for the World Cross Country championships I knew I was in good shape for a sub 28:10," he said.

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